Political Vacuum In TN

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Aug 2018 13:02:05

Karunanidhi soon gathered his loyalists around him and built up the party over which he has held sway for over 60 years, though due to age related problems, he withdrew from active politics in 2016 and name his trusted son Mu Ka Stalin as his political heir and successor.

By T.N. ASHOK


WITH the death of the Dravidian titan Dr. Kalaingnar Karunanidhi at a ripe old age of 94, a huge political vacuum has been created in Tamil Nadu because another colossus in politics, charismatic actress turned politician Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, his arch rival had died just a year ago at a young age (for politics) of just 67.


The best way to sum up the political situation in Tamil Nadu, nine months ahead of the general elections to the country in May 2019, is to put it in electronic technology terms. From 1947 to 1967 was considered a “Golden Period” in the State with the national party Congress, which attained freedom of the country, under the Mahatma, brought progress in agriculture and industry and there was very little room for corruption as Titans like Rajaji and Kamaraj, referred to as the king maker (he made Indira Gandhi as the PM when it was offered to him. But, albeit in the last days of the Congress, CM Bhaktavatsalam, who allegedly took a kickback of over Rs. 10 lakhs over an unspecified deal came to be nick named patthu lalksham (ten lakhs in Tamil) to rhyme with his name.


That was version one which ended. Congress did not lose power because of this little alleged misdeed of corruption, but due to misguided political agenda of imposing Hindi as a compulsory language in schools and colleges that erupted in massive State wide agitations that took an ugly violent turn with incendiary attacks on Government properties and self-immolation. The Dravidian pride was hurt as they considered Tamil as an older language independent of Sanskrit which eventually led to Hindi which was sought to be imposed. What started with the late PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 60’s landed as a political bomb in the hands of the then PM Indira Gandhi in 1969.


The bomb exploded and gave birth to the DMK party which had termed itself as moderate and split from its fledgling parent Dravida Kazhagam launched by Periyar on the principles of atheism and rationalism. Though retaining the same principles, it did not indulge in breaking idols of Ganesha to hit back at the Tamil Brahmins who were considered inconsiderate in not allowing Tamil culture to grow.


Though the brain behind the entire movement was the dominant 2nd in command Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the Dravidian movement took deeper roots in the form of anti-Hindi agitation. Canvassing on this plank and mustering the Tamil sentiment, and anti-Hindi feelings, DMK swept to power. CN Annadurai lived for just about two years as CM and the mantle fell on the writer, Muthuvel Karunanidhi, who had deep roots in the cinematic world as a script writer. Karunanidhi soon gathered his loyalists around him and built up the party over which he has held sway for over 60 years, though due to age related problems, he withdrew from active politics in 2016 and named his trusted son Mu Ka Stalin as his political heir and successor. Stalin became Deputy CM and only deputy leader of the party. The party had to be run under the name of Karunanidhi, though he was confined to a wheel chair who suffered frequent bouts of breathlessness and low blood pressure and hospitalised ironically at the Kauvery hospital (owned by a doctors group in Madurai in which his daughter Kannimozhi had a virtual stake). From 2016 to 2018, Stalin sought to build himself as the new leader of the DMK and an aspirant for the Chief Ministership by touring almost all the districts and maintaining people to people contact.


But unfortunately Stalin, though he was Mayor of Chennai, lacked political acumen or experience of his father and could not raise his stature to succeed his father. Even today, some of the cadres in the DMK have their doubts if he can lead the party strongly like his father.
The family is riven with internal squabbles over the DMK trust which owns most of the office properties and assets valued over allegedly at over Rs one lakh crore, political observers in the know claim. Stalin has managed to subdue the rebellion from his brother Alagiri, who was Urban Development Minister in the UPA regime two, who controls Madurai, Dindugal and Karur vote banks. Kannimozhi on the contrary does not have a hold on any district except bask under the glory of her father’s shadow to become an MP.


She is into real estate and in alliance with big builders who could pour money into her elections, the sources said. She is the most educated of the Karuna family. She started her career as a Sub-Editor in the Hindu when many of the staffers hardly knew who she was as she cut a very low profile. Her husband is a rich businessman in Singapore. She lives in a palatial bungalow in Abhiramapuram, one of the poshest colonies in South Chennai.


DMK lost power in 2014 to Jayalalitha as the Karuna family controlled the film industry, distribution network, satellite TV networks (disallowing even the mighty TATA Sky and the TATAs had to approach the Centre to broker a deal of peace with the DMK family), the computer peripheral industry was also controlled by the DMK family. As Karunanidhi was ageing and reclined to a wheel chair his son had to do all the trouble-shooting. Stalin proved weak to control the family mess which blew up in a massive defeat for the DMK in the Assembly elections.
Then came the Jayalalithaa regime under the AIADMK which was no less corrupt as she had been convicted in a disproportionate assets case during the course of her regime. She had to resign and make Pannerselvam as the CM, though affairs of the State were still controlled by her. But a single judge of the Karnataka High Court disputed the lower court’s arithmetic and computations of assets in the disproportionate case and exonerated her which led to her reinstallation as CM.
But now with the death of Karunanidhi and doubts over Stalin’s stature, version two is over, that is 1967 to 2018, the end of Dravidian politics. Also this means that Tamil Nadu now does not have giant leaders such as Rajaji, Kamaraj, Annadurai, Karunandhi, MGR or Jayalalitha to sway the masses. (IFS)