[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]hen the AIADMK swept the 2014 Lok Sabha elections winning 37 out of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa (Hari Om) exhorted the party cadre to go for the next giant kill. “You have to win the 2016 assembly election as a mark of respect and honour to our founder Puraitchi Thaliavar MGR because his birth centenary year falls in 2017. We should have an AIADMK government in power during the centenary year of MGR and we have to launch innumerable social welfare measures while we celebrate his 100th birth anniversary,” Jayalalithaa had said.
…by May 2016 Jayalalithaa was almost a pale shadow of what she was in 2014.
Much water has flowed down River Cooum since then. Jayalalithaa was convicted and sentenced by the Bangalore Special Court along with her live-in companion Sasikala and two of her close relations. She ceased to be the chief minister and a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) till May 2015 when the Karnataka High Court quashed the Special Cout verdict and acquitted all four charges. Jayalalithaa became chief minister again and true to her words, the AIADMK returned to power in the assembly election held in May 2016. It was a rare feat indeed because the last chief minister who was voted back to power was M G Ramachandran (MGR) (1980, 1984).
But by May 2016 Jayalalithaa was almost a pale shadow of what she was in 2014. There was no big time celebration following her return to power. Though the AIADMK had won 134 seats in the 234 member Tamil Nadu assembly, a sense of insecurity has been haunting the government from day one. Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital in a critical condition on September 22, 2016 and it was officially announced on December 5, 2016 that she had passed away.
The developments and the drama unfolded in Chennai are still fresh in the memory of the general public. On February 24, 2017, the birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa (she would have been 69 had she been alive) saw the AIADMK which she had headed since the passing away of party founder MGR in 1987, getting split into three pieces. The 69th birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa turned out to be a damp squib with the faction leaders observing Amma’s birthday separately.
Deepa Patrick, JJ’s niece launches a new party
Deepa Patrick, niece of Jayalalithaa, who appeared out of nowhere when the latter was admitted to the hospital and since then has become a media celebrity thanks to the news starved 24X7 TV news channels, launched her political outfit by name MGR Amma Deepa Peravai (MADP). She declared that she would be contesting from R K Nagar, a constituency which was represented by Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu assembly. The Election Commission is expected to announce the by-poll from the constituency shortly. Deepa has asked the AIADMK leaders and cadres that they are welcome to support her. But what this chubby woman who cannot speak properly will do in politics is anybody’s guess.
Edappadi Palaniswamy, acolyte of Sasikala
Well, Edappadi Palaniswamy, the chief minister, paid floral tributes on a picture of Jayalalithaa specially kept for him at the AIADMK headquarters. Then he launched the planting of 69 lakh saplings to mark the 69th birthday of Amma. This afforestation programme was first launched in 2012 when Jayalalithaa turned 65. That year, the government claimed that it had planted 65 lakh saplings in Tamil Nadu. Subsequent years saw the number of saplings getting increased by a lakh every year. If the claims by the government are true, Tamil Nadu should have planted a total of 3.35 crore saplings, a mindboggling figure. These saplings, when fully grown, would convert most of the regions in the State into thick forests!
O Panneerselvam, trying to stay relevant
O Panneerselvam, the deposed chief minister, gave a clarion call for a Dharma Yudh to save the AIADMK and the government from the control of the Mannargudi family. He wants to remove Sasikala from the post of general secretary of the party. Public memory being short, most of the people would have forgotten the 29 December 2016 video images of Panneerselvam pleading with Sasikala to take over the mantle of the party and save it from the marauders of the DMK. The Tamil Nadu people has also forgotten the TV pictures of E Madhusoodanan, the party presidium chairman, holding with reverence the hand of Sasikala and begging her to lead the party at its critical juncture!
It took Panneerselvam more than 40 days to tell the world that late Amma had asked him to make Madhusoodanan, the general secretary of the party. He did not open his mouth and tell the world that he was not allowed to meet his ailing Amma even once during her hospitalisation. All these details were disclosed only after 48 hours of forcing him to resign as chief minister.
…the AIADMK is exploding into many pieces…
So on the 69th birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa (precisely speaking, on the first birth anniversary after her death), the AIADMK is exploding into many pieces… What is the fall out of the disintegration of the AIADMK? Vultures will circle once they smell a carcass. The difference in Tamil Nadu is that the vulture is in the form of a political party which is ready to pounce and dismember AIADMK.
Whether the AIADMK government would complete the four year tenure is its business. People are reportedly upset with the AIADMK government and the behaviour of the leaders since the demise of Jayalalithaa. The grapevine is that the DMK is the only option for the Tamil Nadu people. “The Mannargudi Mafia will swallow Tamil Nadu if they are allowed a free run,” scream TV channels and newspapers who are also pitching for the DMK.
Where is DMK headed?
Karunanidhi, the self styled leader of global Tamilians, has converted Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam into Dravida Muthuvelar Kudumbam the moment he assumed the presidentship of the party in 1969. The DMK was the crucial constituent of the Congress-led UPA government from 2004 to 2013. The result? M K Kanimozhi, Karunanidhi’s daughter, the Maran brothers (his nephews), A Raja, the Dalit face of the DMK are all facing serious corruption charges. Have we forgotten the charges of land grabbing by the top as well as local level leaders of the DMK during the 2006 to 2011 reign of Karunanidhi? The AIADMK government which came to power in 2011 was flabbergasted by the quantum of cases of land grabbing and it set up special police units to investigate the cases!
Marans (Dayanidhi & Kalanidhi) spend most of their times in the verandas of special CBI court in New Delhi and the Madras High Court with pleas to nullify the cases like Aircel-Maxis deal, illegal telephone exchange etc. Kanimozhi is out on bail after spending more than six months in Tihar Jail on charges of accepting kick-back in the 2G Spectrum scam. The less said about poor “Raja”, the better. In Tamil Nadu, he is “popular” as Spectrum Raja and Kick-Back Raja! The media is hooting for the same characters.
On the other side, we have Sasikala, safely cooling her heels in the Parappana Agrahara Prison in Banglaore in the company of Ilavarasi, her sister-in-law. There are court cases against T T V Dinakaran, the stand-in regent for Sasikala. Let the law take its own course. As on Februry 24, 2017, people in Tamil Nadu are left with no alternatives other than the DMK and the AIADMK.
What about the National parties?
The Congress has become a nano satellite piggy riding either with the DMK or the AIADMK into the political orbit of New Delhi. The less one speaks about the Tamil Nadu BJP, the better. We have a Union Minister whose only mission seems to be setting up an international container terminal port at Inayam, just 45 km away from Vizhinjam Container Terminal Port in Kerala. Why? The Inayam Port costs Rs.27,000 crores ($4 billion) to build while the Vizhinjam Port is being built by the Adanis for less than Rs.1,000 crores ($150 million). And there is a BJP State President who is yet to graduate from the post of a TV channel panelist. Though she is a gynaecologist by profession, the Tamil Nadu BJP has become a still born child in her safe hands. There is no need to search further. Her father Kumari Ananthan is a former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) chief, her uncle Vasanth Kumar is the Congress MLA from Kanyakumari district. Interestingly, Kumari Ananthan and Vasanth Kumar are Christians while Tamizhisai claims that she is a Hindu.
More about Tamil Nadu BJP on another occasion. Till then the people have to elect the lesser evil!
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.64 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
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