Centenary Year of MGR is fall of the AIADMK
Had M G Ramachandran (MGR) been alive, he would have turned 100 in January 2017. It was late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who exhorted the AIADMK cadre in the run up to the 2016 assembly election to work hard and ensure that the party returns to power so that Tamil Nadu would have a government led by the AIADMK in the centenary year of MGR, the party founder. The cadre obliged Jayalalithaa and saw to it that a government led by the AIADMK took an oath of office after the 2016 assembly election.
Though not much water has flown in the Cooum river since then, the is ‘AIADMK’ split vertically into AIADMK (Amma) and AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) , with jailed general secretary V K Sasikala and former chief minister O Panneerselvam leading the factions respectively. On the centenary year of MGR, the leaders are fighting one another for his as well as that of Jayalalithaa’s legacy.
The cadre, as well as leaders of the AIADMK, forgot that 2017 is the centenary year of MGR. Be it in the Tamil Nadu budget for 2017 to 2018 presented by finance minister D Jayakumar on March 16, 2017, or in the party’s resolutions adopted in the general council meeting held in December 2016, the name MGR is conspicuous by its absence. A thorough check of the AIADMK programmes scheduled for 2017 revealed that there was no programme to rededicate the party in the centenary year of MGR. He has been completely forgotten while the jailed general secretary V K Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran continue to get prominence in the party as well as the government. Chances are that memories of Jayalalithaa too would vanish from the party cadre’s minds by next year.
The Election Commission order transferring S George, the Chennai City Police Commissioner, on Saturday and appointing Karan Singha in his place shows how politicized the Tamil Nadu Police has become over the years. There were reports about how George snubbed the then chief minister O Panneeerselvam by refusing to attend his phone calls after the latter’s resignation on February 5, 2017. It needed the intervention of the governor to convince George that Panneerselvam continued to be the chief minister till a new person was sworn in as chief minister.
The RK Nagar by-poll, necessitated by the demise of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, has three candidates claiming the legacy of Jayalalithaa and MGR. The famous symbols Two Leaves, as well as the name AIADMK, have been frozen by the Election Commission of India following claims and counter claims by the factions.
“This is the beginning of the end of the AIADMK. The appointment of Sasikala as general secretary and she anointing Dinakaran, her nephew as the deputy general secretary are actions shrouded in mystery and are against all democratic norms,” said Sam Rajappa, veteran scribe and commentator.
Political chroniclers point out that late Jayalalithaa who emerged from the shadows of MGR after his death had the charisma to carry all faction leaders with her. “There is no one in the AIADMK who can match the stature of Jayalalithaa. The cadre is suffering silently and the R K Nagar by-election is the first crucial test for the factions led by Sasikala and OPS,” said a senior AIADMK (Amma) functionary who said he was watching the proceedings silently.
The fact that the AIADMK is entangled in a legal struggle over the name and symbol during his centenary year may be making MGR and Jayalalithaa turn in their final resting place at Marina Beach. More than winning the by-poll, the two factions are engaged in a fight for survival. Whoever wins more votes would have the name and Two Leaves. The question being asked is whether the DMK would turn the dark horse and race away with the R K Nagar constituency, hitherto considered an AIADMK fortress.
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2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.