DMK, the Dad, Moms and kin party

By T S Sudhir

If you are a DMK leader of any consequence, you will `land’ in trouble in Tamilnadu. The Jayalalithaa government is going after land grabbers with a vengeance and it is no surprise that a majority of them owe allegiance to the DMK. Karunanidhi is crying foul, accusing Amma of unleashing political vendetta. He has good reason to feel cornered. After `grabbing’ the land of Tamilnadu from him on May 13, now to accuse his partymen of grabbing land is a double whammy, isn’t it?

Wonder if Kalaignar feels inspired to write poetry these days. Because if he does, it will only reflect the agony and the pain he is going through in the sunset years of his political career. He has been giving expression to his outpouring of grief frequently though. Like when his darling daughter Kanimozhi was sent behind bars. Like when son Stalin was taken into preventive custody. Yes, you guessed it right. DMK for the patriarch is just an extension branch of his family tree. It could well stand for `Dad, Moms and Kin’.

In many senses, Karunanidhi brought it upon himself. By turning a blind eye to the power struggle within his different households, by postponing crucial decisions on the succession battle, feeling cocky after the 2009 Lok Sabha results, blatant corruption and muscle power and so on. Which is why when Raja’s 2G expedition brought the army of CBI to the DMK doorstep, Karunanidhi’s game was up. The DMK sunrise was no longer as stirring a cup as Nescafe Sunrise. But like the coffee, the election results delivered instant justice.

Where does the party go from here? By targetting police officers like Jaffer Sait, who was the eyes and ears of the DMK regime and key lieutenants of Azhagiri in south Tamilnadu, Jayalalithaa is tightening the screws smartly. Having learnt that voters do not appreciate highhanded behaviour, she is eschewing the temptation to do a 2001 midnight swoop on Karunanidhi kind of operation this time. The strategy clearly is to go after the key men who provide Azhagiri, Stalin and the Marans with the oxygen. Choke the air supply to make their hearts skip more than a beat, seems to be the gameplan.

JJ is still enjoying her honeymoon with the people of Tamilnadu. And what helps her crusade against land grabbers is that corruption is an issue is agitating the country and the DMK is seen as a party that particularly benefitted by charging itself with all its power.


My sense also is that JJ’s `Discharge Muthuvel Karunanidhi’ campaign may eventually help Stalin in the leadership race within the DMK. His elder brother Azhagiri, thanks to the company he keeps, is more likely to face the heat in Madurai and suburbs. With Kanimozhi and the Marans neutralised by the law of the land, Stalin has the space to make his political moves. His decision to lead the anti-government protests from the front, I believe, was the first of those. In days to come, Tamilnadu may see more of Stalin as he `grabs’ the baton from his indecisive father to pitch himself as JJ’s rival in years to come.

Officially at least, age is on Stalin’s side. Remember, even though he is a grandfather, the 58-year-old is still the DMK youth wing secretary ! He has been in politics long enough to know that impatience does not work. Amma could do to him what the late MGR did to Karunanidhi. The DMK warmed the opposition benches as long as MGR was alive. The challenge now is for Stalin to think out of the box. That will be key since he knows his rival is already in the ring to box him.


Saina says Namaste London

By Uma Sudhir


India’s badminton ace Saina Nehwal is raring to go at next week’s World Chamoionships in London. The event also holds larger significance because of the fact that the venue will also host the Olympics’ event in 2012.

(Video of the story)

It’s life as usual in Bellary

By Uma Sudhir in Bellary


A day after the Supreme Court ordered all mining in Bellary to stop for environmental reasons, an NDTV investigation finds that in this part of Karnataka, it’s business as usual. Trucks carry iron ore to steel plants; officials wave them through check-posts. A collaboration between government officials, politicians and mine-owners governs Bellary.

(Video of the story and the live link)

India plays fair, now for a lovely 2nd innings

By T S Sudhir

If it sounds an exaggeration, so be it. But to me, for the Trent Bridge crowd to boo the Indian team with chants of `cheats’ when they went to the pavilion for the tea break in the Nottingham Test, was a verbal version of Bodyline. This when one of their very own, Michael Vaseline Vaughan, had showed just a day before why the Brits are such cry babies. VVS Laxman with his receding hairline, would not have known that vaseline had such side advantages as well.

But first the run out controversy. By now everyone knows Ian Bell, sauntering back to the pavilion for tea (some cheeky Indians have called it Bell’s slutwalk) was given run out. You may argue that the ball was dead but then the third umpire did rule him out. The England captain and coach walked to the Indian dressing room at tea to request MSD to withdraw the appeal. `Mahatma’ Dhoni agreed, even though with that decision, he had kind of, also lost the match.

So what, his fans and admirers asked. Dhoni has won hearts, they argued. Fair enough. We may lose the number 1 ranking in Tests, but at least we will win the Fair play award. It can’t get more fair and lovely than that.

India has its back to the wall (actually it is back to the Wall, quite literally) in this Test but it is England, for who the bell tolls. Particularly after the uncouth manner in which Vaughan suggested that Laxman’s bat helped him escape from a faint edge. The decision was reviewed by England but rejected by the Hot-Spot technology.

“Has Vaseline on the outside edge saved the day for Laxman?” tweeted Vaughan. This after Stuart Broad had the temerity to walk up to Laxman and inspect the Hyderabadl’s bat. His mythological avatar would have chopped off Broad’s nose !

Sunil Gavaskar, India’s last word on all things cricket, pointed out that Vaughan had questioned Laxman’s integrity and that VVS should take the Brit to court. Realising the tweet was proving a touch too slippery, Vaughan let loose a barrage of tweets in his defence. Sample these :

“I think there has been a slight over reaction to Vaseline gate … Taken to court!!!?? Sense of humour required to many I think …”

“Just woke up to barrage of abuse from India … What are they going to be like when they lose this Test?”

Now that Vaughan is daring India to win, I would suggest Laxman lets his vaseline-free bat do the talking instead of his lawyer. And at the end of it, send Vaughan a bottle of vaseline, with compliments.

And as far as “sense of humour” is concerned, the next time an England team comes to India and complains of Delhi belly, the BCCI should send them DVDs of the Aamir Khan production to humour themselves in their hotel rooms. And tell them, S**T happens !

And for now, can we get back to Trent Bridge and win it or save it please? Can’t have the Boycotts of the world go Kaanv Kaanv about their team endlessly.

Karnataka’s tragic-comic hero

By T S Sudhir

Call him star struck or plain eccentric, B S Yeddyurappa took his obsession with Gods, stars and the almanac to a different level. All through his innings as chief minister of Karnataka, Yeddy interpreted the `God’s work is Government’s work’ line that is embossed at the entrance to the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore, quite literally. One must give credit to his hardworking persona that despite praying regularly to the 330 million Gods in the Hindu pantheon, he found time to focus on the lands and mines of Karnataka as well.

Politicians usually consult astrologers on when to assume office. Yeddy looking heavenwards to choose the time of departure is an interesting first. Of course, he is not going anywhere. The powerful Lingayat leader will breathe down the neck of whoever succeeds him as chief minister, hoping to be a Deve Gowda to a J H Patel.

I remember covering the election results in Bangalore in May 2008 when the BJP just about scraped past the half-way mark. That Yeddyurappa will be CM was never in doubt but even on day one, no one was willing to give him a full five years in power. His short temper will do him in, was the refrain. I wonder if Yeddy knew that as well which is why he was in a hurry to make the most of his time in the CMO.

Yeddy is a family man. Just like all politicians in India are. If the Lokayukta’s exhaustive report is anything to go by, he allowed his DNA to mine-d its business, clearly believing in the dictum that the family that mines together, stays together in Mauritius on a vacation.

The mistake we are however, making is to go for Yeddyurappa’s jugular as if he is only Mr Unclean in public life today. There are many others in similar starched whites who have been molesting the system but have gotten away because they `manage’ better. Yes, an example must be made of the high and mighty brought to book but if the optimistic view is that a new man in Karnataka would clean the stables, it is living in a fool’s paradise. Governments today are run by vested corporate lobbies, who through their tentacles that run deep in the corridors of power and the media, control the levers of administration. In most states, the contractor-turned-politician and the goonda-turned-politician has learnt that a mid career switch into politics is the best way to guard against a midlife crisis with the law.

Coming back to Yeddy, the man has hogged the headlines for over two weeks now with his kabha haan kabha naa on his resignation. My humble plea is that the next time Yeddyurappa is given any post in the BJP or the government, the party should take an undated resignation letter from him in advance. The country will be glad to miss his Shakespearean `to go or not to go’ act.





Bellary Reddys flout SC mining order

By Uma Sudhir

Despite the Supreme Court order on Friday that all mining of iron-ore should be suspended in Bellary, the Reddy brothers, in blatant violation of the apex court’s directions, seem to be carrying out their mining operations.

(Video of the story)