Tamil Nadu politics: Jayalalithaa may opt for electoral tie-ups!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Everything was smooth and positive for ruling AIADMK party in Tamil Nadu and its supremo Chief Minister Jayalalithaa until the natural calamity struck the Chennai city, causing havoc for weeks for the people of Tamil Capital early this month when the opposition had the chance to take on their ever-winning opponent, blaming her for the giant floods making the life in the city difficult.
Apart from the local administrative problems and global terror wars, the giant floods were caused mainly by the ever growing dangerous global warming process, leading to climatic disorder.
The environmental disorder in Chennai and other places seems to have united all opposition parties in Tamil Nadu to get ready for the general poll in new year.
Tamil Nadu ruling AIADMK is also gearing up for the poll and the party leader Jayalalithaa has given counsel to her ministers and other party functionaries to get ready with responses to opposition attacks during poll, especially the DMK and her arch rival and former CM Karunanidhi and his son and CM candidate MK Stalin.
Opposition unity has created head ache for AIADMK. Giving ample indications for the first time that her party was not averse to forging alliances to face the forthcoming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on December 31 said she would take a right decision over it in sync with the circumstances.
She also launched a blistering attack on opposition parties in particular DMK over the issue of release of surplus waters from Chembarambakkam Reservoir, which they had alleged led to unprecedented flooding in several parts of the city and suburbs early this month, and asked her partymen to expose the “lies”. “You should peel off-the false mask of DMK and explain the truth to the people,” she told the AIADMK’s General Council, referring to a proposed protest here by Karunanidhi on January 5 on the issue.
Jayalalithaa, who had shown disinterest in forging alliances after the 2011 assembly polls, appeared to be open for tie-ups for the coming electoral battle. “There is no specific strategy to face polls. For instance, we aligned with some parties for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and some parties for the 2011 Assembly polls. “Similarly, for the Assembly elections I will take a correct decision according to the situation prevalent at that point in time,” she said.
Jaya’s remarks assume significance as the DMK has already started wooing potential allies, especially actor-politician Vijayakant, whose DMDK emerged the principal opposition in the assembly having fought the 2011 polls in alliance with AIADMK. However, the AIADMK-DMDK alliance fell apart soon after the polls.
Hindutva party BJP, which made its presence in the state by tactfully aligning with either DMK or AIADMK and is now seeking to expand its presence in the state, is also keen to rope in the DMDK in the NDA while PMK which has already announced its CM candidate Anbu Ramadoss and said it would lead a front for the polls.
The AIADMK general council, the party’s key-decision making body, has, as usual, authorised CM Jayalalithaa to take all election-related decisions. “In order to ensure AIADMK’s victory in the 2016 assembly elections, this general council authorizes party General Secretary Amma (“mother” as Jayalalithaa is popularly known in the party) to take all election-related decisions,” the resolution, proposed by Presidium Chairman E Madhusudhnan and seconded by all GC members, said.
In her address at the council meeting, Jayalalithaa dwelt with all major issues used by the opposition to target her government. Jayalalithaa dubbed as “lies, and a false propaganda” the opposition claims over flood-management and release of water from Chembarambakkam Reservoir. “The recent rains were unprecedented in the past 100 years. That is why its adverse effects were very high, my government has taken all necessary steps to rescue the (flood-hit) people,” she said. “Those who know the truth are aware that the heavy water logging in districts including Chennai was due to the huge floods caused by the unprecedented rains,” she said. However, “a false propaganda” had been unleashed by several opposition parties that there was a delay in release of (surplus) waters from Chembarambakkam. “They falsely claim that a very huge volume of water was released suddenly from the Chembarambakkam Reservoir,” she said adding the opposition also alleged it happened as “I did not order opening the reservoir at the appropriate time.”
Rubbishing such claims, she said: “it is the all-time practice that the release of water is carried out by the concerned engineer in accordance with the flood waters management rules.” Similarly, for irrigation purposes the Chief Minister gave orders, she said and cited instances during DMK regime to buttress her argument.
On the argument that flooding could have been averted had storage been capped at 75 per cent in the reservoir, she cited the clarification of the State Chief Secretary. “Even if it had been done the release could have been delayed only by two hours and River Adyar was flooded due to discharge from many other lakes and heavy rainfall,” she quoted the Chief Secretary as saying.
Ridiculing Opposition, Jaya said, “if Opposition parties do not understand this they can learn about it by reading the lesson time and work in Eighth standard math textbook.” Although the State Chief Secretary had clarified, the Opposition parties were repeating the same lies, she said. The official had clarified that the water release was staggered and how it was increased. Also, the people living on river banks were forewarned, she noted.
Targeting the DMK over their claim that industries were migrating to Karnataka, she said “it was a lie too, the truth is that no firm has gone there from here.” “Since the Assembly election is nearing, DMK will unleash lies, you must be very vigilant to expose them,” she said directing her Ministers to respond to such statements then and there. “Party workers should read such rejoinders and understand the truth and convey them to the people.”
Mocking at DMK Treasurer M K Stalin for his recent ‘Namakku Name’ (self-help) campaign to mobilize support for his party, she said his party decided to “unpack its bundles of lies” being spread against the ruling party as it had understood that they “cannot expect anti-incumbency against the AIADMK.” “We should secure a massive victory in the Assembly elections and form the government to serve the Tamil Nadu people,” she said and asked her party men to remind the people of DMK’s “betrayal,” of the public.
Jayalalithaa an actor turned politician had come to politics as a follower of former CM and actor turned politician MGR and has been leading party since his death. She also listed several issues including the Sri Lankan Tamils issue to blame the DMK. “Opposition parties would utter lies to blame us, you must explain the truth to the people,” she said. On her regime’s performance, she said,”We have done immeasurable achievements in the past four and a half years. Your beloved sister’s government is implementing various social welfare schemes with an intention of Tamil Nadu achieving true inclusive growth.”
She listed schemes including free of cost mixie, grinder, fans, milch cows, goats, and Amma brand of low-cost chain of eateries, cement, salt and pharmacies. Getting Cauvery Tribunal’s final award published in the gazette, increasing the storage level in the Mullaperiyar Dam to 142 feet from 136 feet through “legal struggle,” were also mentioned by her as ‘achievements’.
Jayalalithaa said: “Nobody can deny that this achievement became possible only due to me. Only due to my untiring efforts did power cuts became a thing of the past, a bad dream”. Seeking to enthuse the party cadres, she said, “it will always be victory for the AIADMK, each and every AIADMK member should take pride in being soldiers of the party.”
Obviously, Jayalalithaa would, as usual, prefer to go it alone in the poll in order to avoid sharing seats. She is keen for the AIADMK to win by thumping majority and huge margins.
Since the opposition is united, she may have to have loyal partners too and also would have to share seats with other coalition parties, but her political choices are keenly watched by observers.
If Jayalalithaa decides to go it alone and wins the majority in the assembly, her position would be formidable in Tamil politics for years to come.
But will she contest the poll all alone? That is the question!