All shell, no soul


A recent visitor to the TMC headquarters in Chennai informs me of the uneasy calm that prevails there. The atmosphere at the Sathyamurthy Bhavan is anything but euphoric, despite the party alliance with the DMK continuing. But I am sure that precisely is the reason for the sense of gloom that has gripped the TMC camp.

The very prospect of facing the voters in the company of DMK is unnerving to most TMC men, for in the last few months they have learned to look at their ally with a critical eye in the hope that their ‘high command’ would respect their aspirations. But then high commands are high commands, whatever the party and it is the cadre’s mistake to have believed that theirs would be different.

Such a conclusion is inevitable. After three days of painful deliberations which the friendly media sought to project as a demonstration of inner party democracy and after an equal number of days of the media waiting for an announcement on the fate of the alliance, comes the TMC chief’s profound statement that it has been decided to take a decision after the DMK states its wish.
that were so then G.K. Moopanar need not have waited, for the DMK chief’s keeness to align with the TMC is no secret. If there is anyone who knows crystal clear of the DMK’s real strength (read weakness) it is Karunanidhi, and this knowledge, rationalist that he is, had led him to the conclusion that without the TMC his party is next to nothing. It is a pity that the TMC leadership has consistently refused to see this truth.
The DMK chief is also aware of the strategic political advantage that such a tie-up would give him, in the context of the Jain panel’s revelations. He can now seek to establish his party’s innocence in the Rajiv assassination by obtaining conduct certificates from no less than those who were very close to the slain leader, to whose family they still claim to be loyal, and whose memory they wish to perpetuate.

ut the striking contradictions of a Chidambaram now seeking to exonerate the DMK, a Moopanar giving a clean chit to Karunanidhi, and of course a super star remaining silent on the now ‘ full grown ‘ bomb culture are not going to miss the discerning eyes of the voter. To have placed itself in such a predicament, is a sad commentary on the TMC leadership’s inability to come to terms with an identity. And to have willingly walked into the DMK’s trap is a clear indication that the party think-tank had gone on leave.

It is difficult to believe that the TMC had decided on such a course even after hearing out the outpourings of its cadre. If the earlier Congress masters were guilty of ignoring the aspirations of the workers here and imposing their fiats instead, the present TMC leadership is even more culpable of sinning against them by perpetuating the very insensitivity that they detested.

Even a casual observer cannot miss the overwhelming anti-DMK sentiments prevalent not only among the party rank and file but also with the second rung leaders, as vouched by Karunanidhi himself. That Moopanar missed it was because his mind was already made up. But even he wouldn’t have felt so ‘commited ‘ had he but given just a thought to what would happen if Sonia decides to campaign for the Congress.

He would have then woken up to the folly of aligning with the DMK as his party would have to campaign against her. The ‘first lady’ may not really take the plunge but still does Moopanar know her mind or does he have evidence that the lady has also exonerated the DMK? Of course, It is not relevant to the voters, but it is certainly of vital importanace to the TMC leader who swears by the Nehru family.

Obviously, such uncomfortable questions had never been raised, or if raised had not been addressed to. In any case, the grand alliance between the ‘true Congress’ and those who stand indicted for encouraging abetting the killers of their leader is through. Our sympathies to the cadre of the ‘party of pride’ of Tamilnadu, for they have to go to the battle, leaving their hearts and conscience behind, with as much enthusiasm as a pall – bearer’s and with more grief.

But theirs not to reason why, theirs is but to do and die!

e-mail the writer at [email protected]