Saturday, May 21, 2011

When bonhomie strikes Tamil Nadu's politicos...

In a move that could confound pollsters and analysts, the principal national political parties of the nation — BJP and Congress — have decided to come together in a state where their prospects have never been anything to gloat about, Tamil Nadu. The partnership, it is said, has been forged to take everyone by surprise. BJP state unit president L Ganesan addressed reporters in Chennai recently, "According to a secret public opinion poll, confidential even to its respondents, we realised that the public were tired of  the bickering between the Congress and us. Hence, this move, in addition to leading Tamil Nadu to the road of development, will offer some variety to the aam-aadmi, on whom to vote for."

Former state Congress chief K V Thangkabalu, however, remained tight-lipped. "The decision rests entirely with Sonia Gandhi madam," he said, conceding that her son Rahul expressed interest over the partnership, as his previous attempts at improving the Congress' tally in the state have floundered. However, insiders from the two parties, whose ideologies are as similar as American football is to soccer, stress on the condition of anonymity that the utter exasperation of being at the mercy of the two Dravidian parties of the state, the M Karunaninidhi-led DMK and Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK, was the catalyst as well as the substrate for the new development. Although the two parties will maintain a cordial relationship in the land of Tiruvalluvar, communiques from their respective headquarters asserted that their ideologies and policies on other issues are not expected to change. For instance, the Congress will maintain that it has nothing to do with a host of corruption scandals, ranging from the Commonwealth Games irregularities and the infamous 2G scandal, with its counterpart countering that its administration in Karnataka has been absolutely free of corruption.

"We understand that any relationship will have a give and a take; hence we will not criticise each other on our road ahead in Tamil Nadu," addressed spokespersons of AICC and BJP, Abhishek Singhvi and Ravi Shanker Prasad respectively, at a joint press meet at the Chepauk Press Club in Chennai. They elucidated that the name of the new party so formed will be Con-JP as the other name they had decided upon, B-ress, sounded too crass.

A party insider, who did not wish to be identified added that post the press meet, a BJP functionary  remarked that the river Cooum continues to raise a stink because the Congress formed the state's first government, leading to the rebuke that, "If the stink is such despite the BJP unable to win even a single seat here, god forbid what would happen if they ever come to power."

Meanwhile, standing testimony to the phrase "My enemy's enemy is my friend", the DMK and AIADMK  have taken a leaf out of their national counterparts, and will ally with one another, a decision which is expected to follow with the announcement of the next round of populist sops to the masses.

Jayalalithaa, or Amma to her followers, reportedly took advantage of the lean traffic on the roads leading to Gopalapuram, where Karunanidhi resides, and held parleys with him.

When this reporter got wind of the development and made it to the venue, he was warded off by security personnel. The actress-turned politician and her confidante, Sasikala Natarajan, however, were caught in a traffic jam, where she, in a tete-a-tete with this reporter, said: "It is true that I met my one-time bete-noire  and discussed with him the union of the AIADMK and DMK. Poor Karu, the arrest of his poetess daughter, Kanimozhi, has saddened him a lot. I decided that I would stand by him in his hour of crisis and asked whether he would need a cell for himself, near the one his daughter is housed in," to which she added that the Kalaignar clasped her hands and wept loudly, while managing to quote a verse or two from the Tirukkural. She averred that such a move would have met with approval from Annadurai or former TN CM M G Ramachandran, her political guru.

Turning a tad serious, the chief minister remarked, "Who are these bl*&%# national parties to dictate terms to us? Do they have any sense of history about our state? Nothing will come out of this union between two also-rans," she said, in a snide reference to Con-JP. "Between us," Jayalalithaa said, referring to herself and the Kalaignar, "many a harsh exchange has been traded, to which you people devote exclusive coverage; however, it is proper that we learn to forgive and forget, and work for a better Tamil Nadu and secure the Dravidian ideology."

Meanwhile, Sasikala, who was sitting silent all the while, remarked sardonically, "We talk about the late MGR, but are dependent on the Karuppu MGR (dark MGR, alluding to Vijayakanth, the head of DMDK). To this, J coldly remarked, "Watch your tongue, I could still have you lodged at a sub-jail in Mannargudi," she said, while ordering the chaffeur to increase the volume of her stereo player inside, which belted out the hit number Naan Aanaiyittal, from the late MGR's yesteryear hit, Ungal Veetu Pillai.

Later in the evening, the CM convened a meet at Fort St George, which included an assemblage of political leaders from the two parties, including the Marans, Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi, M K Alagiri and M K Stalin. "Karunanidhi is my avowed enemy. I will not stop until I vanquish him from the face of the earth," Jayalalithaa began reading out, when murmurs grew from within the audience and on stage. A trembling AIADMK functionary came on to the dais, prostrated before the chief minster and said something to her in a hushed voice, of which the words "wrong speech" stood out. The CM slapped him across his face immediately, in full media glare. "Muttal (dunce)," she muttered under her breath, before leaving the stage hastily.

A source in the AIADMK confirmed that the functionary was bundled off to a Sri Lankan refugee camp in Rameswaram.

The now principal opposition party in the state, the DMDK headed by Vijayakanth, after realising that it has been ditched by the two newly-formed political fronts, decided to outdo them in finding a new ally. Vijayakanth is reportedly said to have sent for actor Vadivelu, who had once launched a vituperative attack against him during the electoral campaign, and is even rumoured to have offered him a plum posting in the party's hierarchy.

Commentators, meanwhile, were having a field day. From jeers to satire, the development was lampooned from all quarters. The political developments in the state are yet to sink in, said noted political commentator and editor of Tughlak magazine, Cho Ramasamy. "I wish I had made my political satire, Muhammad Bin Tughlak, today, instead of forty-odd years ago."