A single event in the immediate aftermath of the Tamil Nadu elections could change the face of Dravidian political fixed matches in the southern Indian state.
Even as sweepstakes are being run by gambling politicians over the final denouement after the recently concluded assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, the nation’s biggest telecom scandal worth at least Rs.50 lakh crores – has resurfaced with a cruel twist.
Prabhakaran, a 25-year-old man has confessed to reporters in Tamil Nadu that he had murdered the aide of former Union Telecom Minister A Raja along with former top cop Jaffer Sait and another person. The person has since dropped out of sight.
It was the Rs.50 lakh crore 2G Spectrum scandal that had caused the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam led by Karunanidhi to lose power in 2011. The so-called suicide of the main accused A Raja’s aide Sadiq Batcha had been brushed under the carpet by half a dozen bent cops at the level of Directors General of Police.
This developmemt may not improve or decrease the chances of incumbent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa returning to power in Tamil Nadu or her challengers that include Karunanidhi and washed up actor Vijaykant.
But its aftermath could.
If Jayalalithaa wins, retired DGP Letika Saran and one of her flunkeys – T Rajendran could be questioned either by the state’s own Crime Branch CID. In case the DMK wins, the Central Bureau of Investigation could be asked to reopen the case by Union Home Ministry – to force Karunanidhi’s hypothetical regime on the backfoot right from day 1.
When that happens, telecom auctions could go for a toss.
There is worse.
In all these, the involvement of the main Dravidian parties – directly or indirectly – can never be ruled out.
P.A.Jacob,66, (former MRF Exports Manager) and his wife Mony Jacob,61, who were found murdered at their Velacherry bungalow on November 2006 in the heydays of Karunanidhi coming back to power. The victims’ stolen car was recovered from Kancheepuram a week later. The amount lost from the house remained unknown, as their three children were and are US residents. The bungalow has remained closed for the past 10 years and the case has been in cold storage. Jacob was a fairly rich man. A property related dispute is said to have led to his murder. The needle of suspicion pointed to DMK bigwigs. The case continues to remain undetected.
The matter was raised with Letika Saran by a senior journalist – and a relative of the victims. Saran, one of the blue-eyed-girls of Karunanidhi, feigned ignorance.
None would help the journalist with 40 years’ blemishless credibility.
There is a reason.
Despite being on the wrong side of 90, Karunanidhi is arguably wiliest Indian politician alive in India. Greenhorn reporters are tickled pink by the nonagenarian who calls himself a working journalist.
The press in Chennai generally crawls when asked to bend by the powers that be.
Thanks to a totally fractured opposition – there is a 5-cornered contest – where every political outfit is testing its strength thus proving to the common man that all of them are stronger than the will of the gullible public.
By ruling out the possibility of his political heir apparent MK Stalin of being anointed CM for the time being, Karunanidhi may have shot himself in the neck. That statement led to dejected Stalin aides going on a tools-down spree on the eve of the elections.
To wit, the nonagenarian was quoted as saying, “If something untoward happens to me, Stalin would be CM.”
The governments of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi have had equal roles in supressing the two horrible truths mentioned above – as the two foes are reported to have their fingers in every dirty pie in India.
Both of the Dravidian mainstays – Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa have a lot to lose if the two cans of worms cited above are opened.
Notwithstanding all this, the fact remains that regardless of either of the Dravidian parties coming to power, the gullible voters of Tamil Nadu would end up with a fat lot of nothing.
The salient features of the denouement’s final crescendo that could prove to be the beginning of the end of Dravidian political dramas in Tamil Nadu:
- Somewhat justifiably, Karunanidhi believes that he is the unifying factor of his party that began its existence in the fifties on the plank of separatism. Stalin does not have that ability. At best, he controls a rump of the party.
- The chances of Karunanidhi returning triumphant to Fort St George as the state’s CEO seemed brightening as his bête noire current incumbent Jayalalithaa began offering unbelievably large number of freebies. ‘This is the surest sign that the tide has turned against her,’ media apologists of Jaya said in a chorus of injured tones. Such sentiments’ echoes are being heard through some of the ubiquitous exit polls. The confusing swings range from a Jaya defeat, through a hung assembly and finally end in AIADMK’s triumphant return to power.
- There are, nevertheless, other opinions.“The 32% vote-bank of Jaya is intact. The anti-incumbency factor against the lady is indeed heavy, but this election is without major issues. This implies a status quo ante situation. If that is the lie of the land, the scattered votes of the opposition will end in her reaching home – fully dry and spry,” a senior cop said.
- That statement has a strange corollary. “If one counts the votes of the combined total of the votes of the current opposition – Jaya would end up losing by several lengths. To turn that Achilles Heel into an advantage, a major section of the police force – that continues to be loyal to her – came up with the idea of using this disadvantage into an ace in the hole – by actually driving bigger crowds to her challengers’ rallies. If it worked like it was expected to, the development could lead to her political opponents’ garnering larger numbers of votes individually. Nevertheless, such individual tallies aren’t expected to match her magic vote-bank figure of 32%,” sources in the gang of shamuses reporting to the centre opined.
- In 2006, the DMK and its allies had polled more votes than those garnered by Jaya. Karunanidhi did not have a majority on his own. His regime survived on the crutches provided by Congress’s 35 legislators, the second largest constituent of the Democratic Progressive Alliance [the euphemism for UPA in TN]. Yet, local Congress leaders could not get as much as a peon appointed in the Tamil Nadu regime. “Knowing Karunanidhi’s reluctance to share the spoils of power, some of those who currently oppose the ageing femme fatale of the south Indian politics would negotiate and land the odd berth in a hypothetical coalition ministry. Perhaps, Jaya’s trouble-shooters have succeeded in spreading fear amongst Jaya’s challengers of being without power if Karunanidhi ascends the throne with a single operative sentence: How can anyone believe that a 93-year-old power hungry man who isn’t ready to cede his throne to his long-time political heir would share power with lesser mortals in the other parties? Simply put, this single factor is the self-delivered bolt-shot on the foreheads of Jaya’s challenger steeds in the current opposition,” the intelligence operative, also a racing enthusiast, said.
To comprehend the meaninglessness of it all – one only needs to take a casual look at the Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly constituency from where the incumbent CM is seeking re-election. There are 45 candidates in the fray. Jaya has 4 serious challengers from Tamil Nadu’s political mainstream – all of them non-males. One of them is C Devi, a transgender.
The Dalit outfit – claiming to oppose Jaya tooth and nail – the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi [free panthers’ party] and a self-professed representative outfit of the most oppressed castes – has fielded veteran educationist Vasanti Devi. She belongs to a ‘forward community’.
The names of the parties that lead the electoral ‘fronts’ tell another back-end story.
At the head of the pecking order is the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [AIADMK].
The next in line is the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
One of the mainstays of the group led by Vijaykant is Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
In a rather strange way, despite being the head of a Dravidian party, Jayalalithaa is the antithesis of every aspect of the term’s political ambit. But for the washed up actor Vijaykant – who may soon be Vijay-Can’t, the rest of the Dravidian leaders are self-professed, anti-Brahmin atheists who openly speak about their hatred for Hindi.
Jaya was born an Iyengar Brahmin, is an openly devout Hindu, speaks fluent Hindi and has political aspirations to lead India. Her debut Hindi film was Izzat – in which she played one of the 2 female leads opposite north Indian ‘he-man’ of yesteryears – Dharmendra. 
Dr Subramanian Swamy – one of her bitter opponents has similar salient political features.
Hailing from Madurai district’s Sholavandan, Dr Swamy is Jaya’s male mirror image. Swamy had won his Lok Sabha seat from Tamil Nadu [Madurai, virtually his hometown] with the support of Jayalalithaa!
But, there are ‘other minor’ differences.
Dr Swamy has vowed to politically erase the Dravidian parties.
The Harvard scholar points to Jaya’s Karnataka origins and calls the yesteryear actress – an outsider.
The DMK – headed by one of India’s cleverest politicians – nonagenarian Muthuvelar Karunanidhi had tried the same trick against Jaya’s political mentor Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran a.k.a. MGR whose mother tongue was Malayalam. The move bombed. Between 1977 and 1987 – the last decade in his life – MGR remained on top of the political table in Tamil Nadu.
Dravidian parties began dictating terms in Tamil Nadu since the 60’s.
Dravidian parties began their existence during the Freedom Struggle as anti-Brahmin, anti-Hindi, anti-Hindu and anti-India outfits citing the Aryan invasion of India. Some of them drew sustenance from the colonial powers’ dirty tricks department. Six decades later, most of them have given up those pretences.
In a nutshell, Tamil Nadu’s so-called Dravidian cult now has a Brahmin leader, whose every policy is adversarial in nature to almost all the causes espoused by the origin of Dravidian parties – the atheist Dravidar Kazhagam!
The national mainstream parties in Tamil Nadu are as dry as the river-beds of Palar and stretches of Cauvery. While the flow of the former is as polluted as the river-waters during their traverse through Vellore District of Tamil Nadu, the latter rises in Karnataka. Ryot-majority dominated Tamil Nadu’s river-water sharing dispute with the same sort of crowd in Karnataka has been perennially visible for over 4 decades. Jaya’s Kannadiga origins complete the ironical circle.
The politics of Tamil Nadu is an unbelievable bundle of contradictory, antithetical conundrums, starting with NTK boss Seeman. He supports Rajiv Gandhi killer and late Tamil Tiger terrorist V Prabhakaran. Jayalalithaa is guarded by the National Security Guard [NSG] Black Cats from attacks mounted by the LTTE. Yet, she has been repeatedly seeking the release of the 7 LTTE convicts found guilty of the foul murder of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
- NTK leader movie-man Seeman – till recently – supported Jayalalithaa. He was regularly featured on the party’s television channel Jaya-TV.
- Seeman’s first climb towards serious fame was through his father-in-law the former speaker of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly – K Kalimuthu.
- Seeman’s first climb towards serious fame was through his father-in-law the former speaker of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly – K Kalimuthu. Kalimuthu had been a harsh critic of Jayalalithaa. He once famously said, “When one sees Mother [Vaikom Narayani] Janaki [also known as Mrs MG Ramachandran] hands rise and palms join together in respect. Upon seeing Jayalalithaa, [a single hand rises – as though to say] come hither!”
- None of the national parties that ruled and continue to rule India from the centre support Lanka’s separate Tamil linguistic minority homeland demand ‘Eelam’. But, directly and/or indirectly, Tamil Nadu parties have supported the cause.
- Jaya had wanted to create such a separate Tamil nation with the help of the Indian army. That had been her main plank during the 2009 parliamentary elections – during which – her party was trounced by the DMK-Cong-Thirumavalavan combine with tacit help from washed up actor Vijaykant.
- Jaya’s political bête noire – Dr Subramanian Swamy wants Lanka to be more actively aided and abetted by India despite the Sinhala-chauvinist parties’ insistence on decimating the emerald isle’s linguistic minority. Not many in Tamil Nadu remember that despite Lanka allowed Pakistani planes to refuel in Colombo during the 1965 and 1971 conflicts. Worse, China has a camouflaged naval base in the form of the Hambantota harbour in south east Sri Lanka. Worst, Lanka buys arms from Pakistan and some of the Jihadi terror groups operate with impunity from Colombo!
- Jaya has some sort of tacit support from Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi – whom Dr Swamy would like upstage and become PM. Currently, Swamy’s growing popularity is giving diehard supporters of Modi – the heebie-jeebies.
- Jaya had got a bill nixing the death sentences against Rajiv killers in Tamil Nadu assembly after a series of flip-flops. The national parties – part of the opposition in TN assembly have different takes on it. Yet, most of them supported the motion in the assembly under two years ago. Despite the final ruling out of any remission of the life sentences of Rajiv Gandhi killers, TN politicians continue to stir regional sentiments and demand the release the murderers.
- Congress continues to slam anti-national nature of TN politics, yet, contributed to the victory of Thol Thirumavalavan – a political opponent of Seeman – to win the parliamentary elections from Chidambaram Reserve Constituency in 2009. This happened despite party workers of Thirumavalavan unleashing violence in the headquarters of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress during the run up to the polls.
- The National Democratic Alliance [NDA] under Vajpayee had the so-called secessionist Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [Resurgent DMK or MDMK] leader Vaiko’s representatives in its ranks and in the central cabinet. The party quit in pique in 2004. MDMK was part of the NDA flock during the 2014 parliamentary polls. But, it came a cropper and chose to quit it.
- Now Vaiko is part of the Vijaykant led group which had been initially wooed by the BJP during the run up to the recently concluded polls!
Congress-DMK love-hate confusion
The blow-hot-blow-cold relationship between the DMK and the Congress was kick-started by the founder of the Daily Thanthi [Telegraph] group of newspapers SP Adithanar  – whose headquarters are situated cheek by jowl with the mother of all secessionist ‘non-political’ parties in India – the Dravidar Kazhagam [DK]. The precincts of the Chennai city Police Commissioner’s office is located bang opposite both the offices mentioned before. So much for maintenance of law and order!
The antithetical roots
Adithanar had flanked the first ‘Dravidian’ CM – Conjeevaram Natarajan Annadurai [CNA] when the party attempted to find its moorings – purely on the secessionist plank. CNA had founded the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [DMK – party for the progress of Dravidian People]. It had the same aim – a separate Dravidian State with the fissiparous slogan. Adainthaal Draavida Naadu, Illayel Sudukaadu [either the Dravidian State or the cremation ground] had been the first clarion call by CNA. It is widely believed CNA had hoped to succeed DK founder EV Ramaswamy Naicker. But, when Ramaswamy, anti-Dravidian commentators aver, married Maniyammai [40 years his junior at the time of marriage] and bequeathed his wealth to a trust headed by her and K Veeramani, CNA decided to plough a different furrow – claiming to emancipate Tamils through an electoral outfit – the DMK.
DK has remained beyond the electoral arena since inception. It, however, continues to espouse causes that border on secessionism. Throughout the latter part of his life – Ramaswamy spoke derisively of the DMK. Naicker’s successor has hailed both Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa – depending on who ruled the state. He also riled against the same politicians – depending on non-political-expediencies.
The DMK’s climb to political power is often wrongly cited as its anti-Hindi stir in 1967. One event that changed the narrative was an attempt on MGR’s life by fading atheist actor MR Radha. And it was that happenstance that actually catapulted the DMK to power.
That was the beginning of the ironical nature of Tamil Nadu politics raised to the power of infinity. The DMK used the shooting as an election ploy – displaying the posters of MGR with a heavily bandaged neck to romp home. Radha, who could never read Tamil [his mother tongue was Telugu] had always hated both the Congress and MGR. MGR’s stock improved and he was eulogised as the King-Maker. But, the main casualty was the Congress. In 1969, the Congress led by Indira Gandhi virtually hocked its Tamil Nadu unit to Muthuvelar Karunanidhi – who had succeeded in becoming CM after the demise of Annadurai.
Ironically, Devi – one of Jaya’s challengers – was and is not serious about giving Jayalalithaa a fight at all, as is evident from a quote in a popular website. “Jayalalithaa is one of the biggest leaders in the state. I’m not standing against her, I’m standing for the people in the constituency,” Devi was quoted as saying.
A wag in Chennai summed all this up with this nugget:
“The Dravidian part of Tamil Nadu politics began its ascent when Adithan won his first seat in the state assembly from the constituency aptly named Sathankulam – that translates into English as Devil’s Pool. That pool has dried now. The name of the constituency where Adithan found his Waterloo twice – Srivaikuntam – the abode of the dead as per Hindu beliefs is its cruel epitaph. Meanwhile, the ordinary Tamil citizen of this state – once ruled by stalwarts like Kamaraj – was short-changed then, and is short-changed now!”
There are strange parallels to the lives of the actors – MGR, Jayalalithaa Dharmendra and Hema Malini on the issue of their links with the opposite sex.
Dharmendra’s ‘second wife’ is actress Hema Malini, born an Iyengar Brahmin.
Dharmendra’s physique is often compared with that of MGR.
Dravidian MGR began his political career as a member of the Congress – the so-called national party that has virtually been ground to dust in Tamil Nadu – by the same Dravidian parties.
To marry Hema Malini, Dharmendra and Hema Malini briefly converted to Islam. Yet, both belong to the loud right-wing Hindu chauvinist fringe in the BJP.
Jaya’s political troubles in the middle of her career were partly due to land improperly allocated to her personal fiefdom in the heart of the Chennai.
Hema Malini has been accused of pocketing prime land for prices comparable to a song in Mumbai.
The residences of both Jaya and Hema are located within 700 metres of each other in Chennai’s fashionable Poes Gardens district.
Next door to the AIADMK party headquarters in Chennai’s Lloyds Road [now Avvai Shanmugham Salai] is a marriage hall that belongs to Hema Malini.
Hema Malini’s Tamil film career never actually took off in the 60’s despite her being fluent in Tamil as the language is her mother tongue. Her debut film was Idhu Sathiyam [this is the truth]. Even today, her Hindi diction shows traces of a faint Tamil accent. On the other hand, Jayalalithaa speaks flawless Hindi, was as much an accomplished dancer as Hema is and tried her hand in Hindi films. It came a cropper after the 60’s classic Izzat – most of which was shot in what had been Madras.
Izzat and Hema Malini’s Hindi debut movie Sapnon Ka Saudagar [Merchant of Dreams] were released in 1968. Both did poor business at the box office. Sapnon Ka Saudagar had been rejected by another actress from the south – who also dominated the north Indian silver screen – Vyjayantimala – incidentally – of Iyengar extraction. She is a fromer Congress MP – who had won from the South Madras parliamentary constituency – that encompasses the residences of all the 3 ladies.
Vyjayanthimala is the niece of late character YG Parthasarathy – whose theatre group UAA served as the acting training ground for Jayalalithaa.
Vyjayanthimala and Jayalalithaa went to the same school – Church Park Convent.
Vyjayanthimala is distantly related to Latha Rajnikant – who also resides in Poes Garden with her superstar husband. And it had been Rajnikant who had first contributed to the first electoral defeat of Jayalalithaa in 1996. The actor’s stills on a cycle in the movie Annamalai was used by late Congress leader GK Moopanar’s party – the Tamil Manila Congress. The offices of TMC are within a 1 km distance of the residence of Jayalalithaa.
Incidentally, Rajnikant is Jayalalithaa’s neighbour.
Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajnikant was a bus conductor in Bangalore, before he chose a movie career. In the mid-70’s, despite being a struggler at that time, he rejected the offer to play the male lead opposite Jayalalithaa in her comeback film Suryakanthi.
Adithan started the “Tamil Rajyam” party in 1942. During 1947–52, he was a member of the Madras Legislative Council. He contested and won the 1952 election from Tiruchendur as a candidate of T. Prakasam’s Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party [KMPP]. He was elected as an independent candidate in the 1957 election from Sathankulam.
In 1958, Adithan founded the “We Tamils” [WT] party on the plank of forming a sovereign Tamil state. The party’s stand was more radical than the Dravida Nadu demand of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy’s Dravidar Kazhagam. It wanted the creation of a homogeneous Tamil state incorporating Tamil speaking areas of India and Sri Lanka. The party’s headquarters was named as Tamiḻaṉ Illam [Home of the Tamil]. In 1960, WT organised state-wide protests for the secession of Madras and the establishment of a sovereign Tamil Nadu. The protests were marked by the burning of maps of India (with Tamil Nadu left out). Adithanar was arrested for organising them. The party along with M. P. Sivagnanam’s Tamil Arasu Kazhagam was also involved in the movement to change the name of the state from Madras State to Tamil Nadu. Adithan lost the 1962 election from Tiruchendur and got himself elected to the Legislative Council in 1964. The WT contested the 1967 election as an ally of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) under the DMK’s “Rising Sun” symbol. It elected four members to the Assembly, including Adithan, who won from Srivaikuntam. The party merged with the DMK in 1967.
On 17 March 1967, Adithan became the speaker of the assembly defeating the Swatantra Party candidate K. S. Kothandaramiah, by 153 votes to 21. Despite being the Speaker of the state assembly [a port believed to be non-partisan] Adithan attended the DMK political conference held at Thanjavur in 1968 and also took part in political activities in his constituency. Adithan remained unapologetic. “I am as much as a politician as the honourable leader of the opposition is and as such, I cannot refrain myself from the party activities of the DMK with whose support and under whose symbol I have been elected to the Assembly. But it does not mean that I am partial and partisan,” he was quoted as saying at that point in time, wrote M Kaliyaperumal in his seminal work The office of the speaker in Tamilnadu: A study, Madras University. pp. 92–96, published in 1992.
This controversy led to Adithan resigning as speaker on 12 August 1968. For such loyalty, in February 1969, Adithan was made Minister for Cooperation by M. Karunanidhi after the demise of Annadurai. In the 1971 elections Adithan was returned to the assembly from Srivaikuntam. He continued as the Minister for Cooperation.
The (DMK) split in 1972, with M. G. Ramachandran forming the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK). Adithan supported the ADMK. He contested and lost the 1977 election as an ADMK supported independent from Sathankulam. He also lost the 1980 election from Srivaikuntam.
The world is watching all this with a lot of interest. Evidence:
|United Arab Emirates||113|
|Hong Kong SAR China||6|
|Congo – Kinshasa||1|
|Trinidad & Tobago||1|
|Macau SAR China||1|