Hamlet is a tragic hero

We are not sure if he meant it, but TMC president G.K Moopanar did aver that his party may even prefer to keep out of the polls, as a last option. It may not really happen, but such a statement coming from the leader of a political party claiming to have a national outlook is indicative of the deep turmoil that the party leadership finds itself in vis-a-vis its alliance with the DMK.

The circumstances leading to the formation of the TMC and its resounding victory at the hustings are now history. The anti-establishment wave that marked the 1996 polls would have easily taken the party to power, even if it had contested alone as it was viewed as the true Congress in the State. But strangely the fledgling party decided to tie up with the DMK, primarily because it did not want to test its strength at that stage and also due to the advice of some brokers, with whom consistency had never been a virtue. Even then voices were raised against an alignment with the DMK because it was felt that the latter’s past may prove embarrassing in future, an apprehension which was justified for the simple reason that it has come true now. But fear of the enemy prevailed over better judgement.

Even so it appears that the party was born with a twin brother called procrastination. After 18 months, though it is difficult to know if the TMC has grown, we can say with certainty that its twin brother is now a giant. I have always been of the opinion that former Prime Minister V.P. Singh is the most confused man in the country, who made an irrevocable tryst with disaster, which unfortunately materialised to the country’s detriment too often. P.V. Narasimha Rao made a virtue of indecision but behind that facade was a scholarly but calculating brain, which actually worked overtime while the tongue remained inactive. With him, the refusal to take decisions was because of the conviction that if left alone, problems would take care of themselves. And he did succeed, if not creditably.

But it is indeed an irony that those who cited that silence of the former PM as a reason for their breaking away, should now employ the very same methods. There was at least a purpose behind Rao’s silence but the TMC’s is backed by nothing but hollowness. The party is silent because it has nothing to say!

The DMK’s past is old wine. It was old wine even in 1996. The party was rejected in 1991 simply because the wine was then frothing and turned out to be a heady cocktail, even blinding it from seeing the nation’s interests’. Finance Minister Chidambaram would, I am sure, agree. At least he did so in 1991. But five years later, with no proof of the DMK’s LTTE hangover having died down, the TMC decided to exonerate the DMK by joining hands with it. It was, then, propelled by an anti-Jayalalitha mood that even blinded its vision to the inevitable fallout of the Rajiv assassination probe by the Jain commission. But what is its predicament now?

If by resurrecting the DMK, which was buried fathoms deep in the political grave, the TMC gave it a new lease of life, it did a greater disservice to the people of Tamilnadu by enabling the DMK to get entrenched at the grassroots of governance in the local body elections. Again, the TMC had let slip a chance to test its strength and that too after a lot of dilly dallying. One wonders what virtue the TMC finds in the DMK that keeps it glued to the latter, come what may, If the attachment is so strong, then why all the fuss about being loyal to the Nehru family? What is the necessity for it to indulge in shadow-boxing with the DMK periodically, only to shake hands later? Why all this show-off about a non-existent inner-party democracy when the leadership lacks the will and courage to break away from an ill-conceived friendship, which is what the cadre want? Who is it trying to fool, anyway? Only itself, if it continues to play this hide and seek game, for the inclination to take the TMC seriously, which was a fashion with the media, is slowly giving way to a disenchantment. Not surprising considering what was dished out yesterday could have easily been said through a simple, faxed press release to all the newspaper offices. There was really no need to keep the reporters and the people on the edge for three days only to come out with this profound declaration that it has decided to decide later!

The TMC can continue with this dithering only at its own peril. At least Nero was fiddling when Rome was burning. But the TMC is too unwilling to even bat, an eyelid, while the whole political arena is agog with activity, weighed as it is down by a bundle of contradictions and irreconcilable objectives.

Time and tide will wait for none. Politics has no place for reluctant players. Like for a tune, it only favours the brave.

email the writer to [email protected]

Jawahar T R