Annamalai appears to be on his way to proving that the DMK can be defeated
DMK party has been built on the pillars of Scientific Corruption of gigantic proportions (as published in the Sarkaria Commission report): Whenever DMK was in power, its leadership extracted a huge share of bribes from all deals, big and small all over the state, by tasking Ministers, party functionaries, and government officials with bribe targets, which got distributed across the collection and distribution chain. Hence, many vested interests in positions of power have been created and nurtured over the decades.
Hatred for Hinduism (and Brahmins): It supported minorities on anti-Hindu agenda (facilitating religious conversions and financial gains), though actually doing nothing for the poor among the minorities. The poor in TN continue to remain poor 63 years after DMK first came to power.
Shedding crocodile tears for social injustice: You can’t find social justice within DMK itself. DMK has done nothing for the poor from really disadvantaged communities. However, the families of the state party chief (Late Kalaignar Karunanidhi) have become worth lakhs of crores of Rupees, and his deputies (‘kuru nila mannars’ in Tamil, if you will) have become worth lakhs, 100s, or 100s of crores of Rupees worth, in the form of property and investment in India and abroad, in the diverse fields of real estate, construction, education, medicine, and what have you. The worst part is, all this is an open secret.
Hatred for North India and Hindi: India is a nation of many states with many mother tongues. Congress in the initial years and BJP more recently tried short-sightedly to make Hindi the national language. Hindi and English, together, have always served very well as link languages, though. In fact, English has helped the Indian economy immensely. The language issue has long been offered on a platter to DMK to fan regional sentiments, presenting the national parties in poor light.
Claiming false credit for the forwardness of Tamil Nadu: All South Indian states have been lucky to be endowed with long coastlines and fertile land, and substantially insulated from the brutal Islamic invasions of North India in the earlier centuries, consequential peace and better education in the earlier years, and higher industrial investments post-independence. The TN education system has since been ruined, with even high school students being unable to read elementary school textbooks, and post-secondary school students being unable to compete for college seats and Central government jobs nationally in competitive examinations.
To top it all, DMK has recently been branding its governance style as a Dravidian model, seeking to claim credit where none is due.
Having come from the affluent film industry, DMK’s first family always understood marketing, advertising, and brand building like the palms of their hands. They used these tools and made people believe in their false propaganda, to come to power. Then they used the money and political clout to build a political structure with many deputies around them to take care of each district and constituency for further electoral success. They have been running this dynastic auto-pilot system successfully, though DMK has been in and out of power due to the compulsions of electoral democracy. (But for elections, we would be having an uninterrupted Karunanidhi Dynasty ruling over Tamil Nadu, like the Cholas, Cheras, and Pandyas.)
In the backdrop of the 6 decades of false propaganda unleashed by DMK, the money power, media power, cinema power, depth of DMK electoral machinery built by DMK up to the booth level, and the vulgar display of raw physical power DMK has been known for, it has been difficult for anybody to defeat DMK challenging it up front (except its own offspring, ADMK) because it has become too big, too powerful, and too well-fortressed with layers of protection. Vijayakant tried and failed. Rajinikanth failed even before he tried.
Nothing succeeds like excess. DMK has demonstrated this over the last 6 decades. The main difference between DMK and AIADMK has been DMK’s anti-Hindu stance, whereas ADMK has been tolerant of Hinduism (though it has been pseudo-secular just like DMK).
It is against this backdrop that Annamalai has entered the political scene through BJP. In politics, perception matters most. Annamalai appears to be on his way to proving that DMK can be defeated contrary to what most people, including me, thought. He has been conducting press meets almost on a daily basis, exposing DMK, issue by issue, the likes, and frequency of which TN politics has never seen so far.
Not only is Annamalai very thoroughly prepared for press meets with facts and figures, but is also able to think on his feet and answer just about any question extremely competently. He counters provocative questions raised by DMK apologists in the garb of media, with equally provocative replies. He’s not afraid of negative publicity engineered by DMK through its media and social media power.
A significant part of Modi’s political success was scripted by the opposition; of course, Modi didn’t play to their script. The more fraudulent and aggressive Congress (and UPA) leaders were against Modi, fabricating false cases with false high-profile witnesses, and using media and pseudo-liberal heavyweights viciously, the more Modi used these very tools as opportunities to defeat them.
Annamalai is proving that he’s made of similar stuff as Modi. He has so far been converting every adversity into an opportunity.
An oak tree is split from its own small wedge. DMK’s Senthil Balaji asked Annamalai how he got his Rafale watch worth a mere Rs.3.4 lakhs. Annamalai hasn’t let the opportunity go. He didn’t oblige Senthil Balaji with an instant reply. He’s made the topic rankle in the media for a long with comments, pro- and anti-, and has promised to reveal not just the receipt for the watch but all his bank entries ever since he went to work over 10 years back, which no one in India politics has done.
If and when he proves that he didn’t get the Rafale watch through any dishonest means, around mid-April, coinciding with the launch of his state-wide yatra, it is expected to start a new era in TN politics.
Crowds appear to throng Annamalai’s meetings, rural and urban, and some private surveys appear to indicate that the popularity of Annamalai is increasing fast. But we should be realistic enough to see how much of this apparent popular support will translate into electoral votes.
Annamalai still has quite some way to go to before BJP can become the (or an) alternative to DMK in TN, but he appears to be moving in the right direction.
To begin with, in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, BJP is likely to be part of an alliance led by ADMK, just as DMK is in alliance with 12 other parties. Even in the event that the faction of ADMK led by EPS (E Palanisamy) is not part of BJP’s alliance, it is quite likely that BJP would have emerged as a very strong force to reckon with in TN politics in the coming years.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
PGurus is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with all the latest news and views
For all the latest updates, download PGurus App.
- Why the Supreme Court is dead wrong and what it can do - March 17, 2023
- Modi government is hard on Opposition, soft on BJP: What should courts do? - March 1, 2023
- How the next war/ world war can be averted - February 25, 2023