Saturday, May 23, 2015
The Return of J Jayalalithaa: Requiem to Dravidian Politics
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books J Jajalalithaa too the oath of office for the fifth time this morning. Wearing a green Sari with an emerald ring sparkling on her right index finger she signed the Register. The Governor Rosaiah was doing his best to look comfortable as her ministers lined up to genuflect before her in the strict order of ministerial rank. The fact that she has been acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the Disproportionate Asset case made her return possible. Critics have already smudged her copy book pointing out the seemingly glaring arithmetical error which resulted in Justice Kumaraswamy acquitting her on the judicial premise that her assets are within the permissible margin of error. Her critics seem to be unaware that an acquittal can be overturned by rectifying the mathematical calculation. The entire accounting of the assets have to be redone and that will not make any material change in the judgement. Though the acquittal will be challenged in the Supreme Court, the chances of it being set aside are rather slim. So J Jayalaithaa has crossed the last legal hurdle before the 2016 State Assembly Polls. Dravidian style politics is now on its last legs. The ostentatious display of identity symbols, the cloud display of personality cult, the obsequiousness toward party leadership and the immediate family, the wanton disregard to political and cultural values are all part of the political culture of high Dravidianism. J Jayalalithaa did not personally endorse any of these aberration, but had to fall in line with the established code of Dradidian politics. Even the corruption charges for which she was repeatedly prosecuted at the behest of Karunanidhi and Subramania Swamy was more the doing of her inner circle consisting of Sashikala and her Kallar relatives than of her own making. However, the fact is that in the menagerie of Indian politics, J Jayalalithaa enjoys the distintion of being the only politician who has been disqualified twice for corruption and has got back to power. It is very unlikely that Karunanidhi's daughter will escape the punishment as the case against her is water tight with little scope for legal jugglery. It is hoped that this time around she delivers on her promise, The closet politician with whom Jayalalithaa can be compared is Eva Peron. Like Eva, the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is adored by the masses almost bordering on mass adulation. It is a foregone conclusion that she will sweep the next election as the populist schemes launched by her will fetch a rich harvest of votes. Launched in the name of AMMA, or Mother, these schemes all touch the lives of ordinary citizens. This new dimension of using the state and its machinery to redistibute resources has been perfected by the AIADMK and was started by her mentor, MGR. Surprisingly the total cost of these schemes is around 5,000 crores while the state earns nearly 30.000 crores by the sale of liquor through the TASMAC outlets. The immediate task before the present Chief Minister is the restore the confidence of the international financiers and kick start the stalled infra structure projects.