A tale of two octogenarians


By T S Sudhir
It was darkness at noon. Muthuvel Karunanidhi must have found the world a much darker place, from behind his glares, on Friday, the 13th. It must have dawned on the veteran politician that in his sunset years he is going to see the rising sun, and the stars among his scions, eclipsed.

“The people of Tamilnadu have given me rest,” was his terse reaction to the verdict of the people of Tamilnadu. Karuna will now have to turn his attention to the problems within his 2G. The radiation from the telecom scandal threatens to adversely affect several members of his families and nothing would make Jayalalithaa more happy than to make Karuna hear `You are in queue, please wait’ whenever he dials P for Power !

But while Karunanidhi put up a pathetic performance, fellow octogenarian V S Achuthanandan batted like Sachin Tendulkar. And just like the Master Blaster who has seen his team lose even when he hits a century, VS saw his team lose by a whisker. And yet he was Kerala’s Man of the Match.

Congress leaders are now in awe of the VS factor and admit how they blundered by underestimating his connect with the people of Kerala. How they just assumed all the voters would repeat their 2009 performance. How they thought they could target the LDF’s Lavalins and Lotterys and expect the electorate to be blind to the CWGs, Adarshs and 2G.

Both these political veterans, manufactured in the 1920s, are masters of the craft of the politics. Both were seen to be fighting their last big political battle. Both were fighting with the back to the wall. The big difference though was that one was seen to personify corruption and the other was seen as a crusader against corruption.

Karuna made a political blunder. His became the politics of blackmail when he refused to buckle and appeared brazen. VS, even when thrown out of the politburo or initially denied the ticket to contest the election, played the martyr. One reason why the CPI(M) won 45 seats, seven more than the Congress and just three of VS’s ministers lost their election.

Not even being eligible to be Leader of Opposition is a huge loss of face for the Tamilian, whereas the Malayalee has walked away with his head held high. The mistake that Karunanidhi made was to put family above the people of Tamilnadu. VS scored by putting the people above his own party.

Karuna and family thought money and muscle power would mean they could repeat 2009. But this time the people of Tamilnadu were smarter. We don’t really know how much money was taken but the votes went to the two leaves. Perhaps even Rajinikanth voted for his neighbour in Poes Garden. Et tu Brutus Rajini. Did he tell Karuna, “I am Chitti, the Robot. I do what the people want.” 

Kerala can look forward to mid-term elections because there is no way a two-seat majority will survive the pulls and pressures of coalition politics till 2016. In Tamilnadu, JJ may not do anything reckless like lifting Karuna at midnight but will ensure the scriptwriter’s family has its tryst with destiny.

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About t s sudhir & uma sudhir

Uma Sudhir and T S Sudhir are senior journalists, based in Hyderabad. Both work for NDTV. Uma is a Tamilian, who was educated in
This entry was posted in Karnataka & Tamilnadu and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A tale of two octogenarians

  1. ijswamy says:

    Politicians refuse to learn . Congress and DMK should allow to grow leaders from periphery instead of imagining that leaders exist only in one family.

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