“DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) celebrating corruption!” was a tongue-in-cheek comment made by a few in Tamil Nadu soon after all the accused in the 2G allocation case were acquitted by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in New Delhi. Politically, there is a view that there will be no fallout of this verdict in Tamil Nadu. This is because, as an All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) observer says, DMK has never enjoyed a clean image. “People know the DMK’s record and it would only make them lose faith in the judiciary,” the observer said.
Even staunch Dravidian leaders agree that the verdict in the 2G will only leave people with “disillusionment over judiciary”. But if anyone thinks that it’s time for DMK to celebrate, then they need to rethink. We will get to that later.
Modi’s Visit To Karunanidhi’s Home Comes Under Scrutiny
First, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit is being scrutinised by some critics. Particularly, those in the AIADMK have begun to question the need for Modi to visit the ailing DMK president and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, a day before the CBI was supposed to have come out with its verdict on 7 November. Subsequently, the CBI judge put off his judgement, saying he wanted time to pronounce his verdict before absolving all the accused on Thursday.
“Why should Modi visit Karunanidhi when the judgement was due the next day? Why did he meet (his daughter and one of the accused) Kanimozhi there? It looks murky,” wondered an AIADMK observer.
The AIADMK, the observer says, thought that all the accused in the 2G case would go scot-free the day the Maran brothers walked free in the Aircel-Maxis case in February this year. “We knew this was coming because it was the CBI Judge O P Saini who found all basic documents perfect, ordered prosecution and filing of chargesheet in the Aircel-Maxis case. After doing all these, one fine morning he acquits all…,” the observer said.
Trouble For Stalin?
The AIADMK isn’t sulking following the verdict. Its leaders are, in fact, celebrating because they see two positive developments from this verdict.
One, they expect the mood of the public in Tamil Nadu to sway against the DMK. Until 1989, when the DMK came to power, taking advantage of the split in the AIADMK, a majority of the people in rural areas of the state was reluctant to give the DMK chief Karunanidhi any benefit of doubt on the corruption charges against him. In 1984, people in Tamil Nadu voted the AIADMK to power for the third successive time since 1977 despite its leader M G Ramachandran being critically ill and treated in a U S hospital. It’s another matter that people found the corruption charges against J Jayalalithaa’s government more worrisome and voted her out for DMK-Tamil Maanila Congress (led by the late G K Moopanar) combination in 1996.
The number of women voters in Tamil Nadu is at a par with the men and a majority of them have usually taken a lenient view of the corruption charges against Jayalalithaa than Karunanidhi. Thus, the women could now play a crucial role in the coming elections, perhaps against the DMK.
Two, most importantly, the AIADMK is rubbing its hands with glee as it sees DMK working president M K Stalin’s leadership being questioned. “After being acquitted, Kanimozhi, who had been sidelined from the party for all these days, will emerge as a big challenger to Stalin’s leadership. She will be backed by quite a handful,” said the observer.
The AIADMK’s viewpoint is that Kanimozhi, DMK president M Karunanidhi’s daughter, and M K Alagiri, the DMK chief’s son who was suspended from the party in January 2014, could now join hands and challenge Stalin’s leadership. The DMK cadre is reportedly disillusioned, often comparing Stalin with his illustrious father Karunanidhi. “The DMK would have stormed backed to power had Karunanidhi been active now,” is the general refrain of the cadre when the topic of discussion is on developments in the AIADMK since its supremo Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016. A section of DMK seniors feel let down by Stalin’s tactics and responses to current developments in Tamil Nadu.
AIADMK leaders, in both the camps that the party is now split into, sense that these forces in DMK waiting for a chance could now come together and back Kanimozhi-Alagiri duo to challenge Stalin. Alagiri has been waiting in the wings since his suspension. He told the media last month that he would join active politics if his father wishes. He had surprised observers with a letter to Modi thanking him for visiting his ailing father. All these are indicators that he is waiting for the right moment. Has this verdict given him that moment? Let’s see.
M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani
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