PTRP Thiagarajan chafes a little when he arrives with his team at the Roman Catholic church in Madurai. It is 9:45am and he is bang on time. Not so the other candidates of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the southern district of Tamil Nadu. “You guys should have told me they are late,” he comments mildly to his assistant, who murmurs a barely audible “I told you so”.
“Anyway, I guess I am going to have to get used to this,” he continues, as he walks out of the car, a broad smile and vanakkam (greeting with folded hands) in place.
Thiagarajan knows he’s a ‘big man,’ an ‘Ayya’ as the Tamilians are inclined to call respectfully the rich landlords of yore in an essentially feudalistic society. Not only does his wealthy family own vast tracts of farm land, but political pedigree too.