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.