CMs galore

Suddenly in the last six months there is a spurt of CMs, present and potential. The CM cup is now overflowing. The abundant choice is actually fun if not for the fact that 2016 seems fixed. By God, I meant. Unless He is overruled by the courts, that is.

Things hotted up when the Bengaluru case attained critical mass. There was much speculation even before judgment day on who would become TN CM if J was forced to step down. The rumour mills churned out many names, some outrageous but not quite unlikely here. Eventually, when the CM chair did fall vacant owing to the adverse verdict, AIADMK fell back on its default setting, a sort of reliable safety net in O.Panneerselvam. He is the new Nedunchezhian. N used to step in whenever a Dravidian incumbent made an exit.

Though a fait accompli, the Constitutional crisis was addressed. But it was a decision that the constitution of the cadre could not digest. And the crying cadre included the new CM and his cabinet too. The anomaly was quickly resolved through the invention of the novel nomenclature ‘Makkal Mudalvar’, People’s CM. The blessed State is now witness to the tamasha of two CMs. But we know who between them is the ‘mudhal’, first, among unequals. It took OPS five months to just move to the hot seat in the Assembly! That’s about the only movement the
State has seen since Sep.

Such consensus cannot however be enforced in the DMK. Here, any hint of that post’s prospects would set off a bloody fratricidal war between K’s ambitious sons. Not that the people are itching to elect either of them. But in a party that has become family property K’s choice not only determines political succession but access to huge resources. There is then the daughter too. With many mouths to feed and many more to keep shut down the bloodline, and the familiar doors of distant Delhi closed, the doting patriarch is stumped. So come 2016, it looks the overhanging K cloud will remain put so that the rising sons will never see the light of day. But if there is an earlier ‘sunset’, the Manoharas will unshackle violently to bring the DMK house down!

The NDA always had more CM wannabes than voters. Of course, all the constituents know that they cannot even get anywhere near Fort or Secretariat without a visitor’s pass. Still, ‘future CM’ sort of sounds nice to the ears. When Amit Shah pompously declared in Dec last that the BJP will lead the NDA with its own Chief Ministerial candidate, many self-congratulatory smiles lit up the stage. But with that the NDA edifice came apart completely. Vaiko had already left and DMDK started a sulk. The BJP has since softened its claim, finding it difficult to get the party together, let alone the NDA or the State. The smiles are off too.

By a very steep stretch of imagination, across the Palk straits to be precise, the only person who would have wanted Vaiko as CM was Prabakharan and he is dead, though Vaiko believes otherwise. Anbumani of PMK has just announced himself as the party’s CM candidate and that others are welcome to accept him. Tired of its decades-long tree-cutting-spree and having shored up its ‘strength’ with stints in the Capital, the PMK is looking for fresh fertile ground, to cut deals here this time. The only-Vanniyar party is eying ‘anniyar’ votes in a bid to shed its rank casteist roots. The idea is to gain legislative numbers and then negotiate which turn to take on Dr Radhakrishnan Salai!

That leaves the much memed and maligned ‘vice’-Captain V’Kanth who through his punch dialogues delivered in a tell-tale drawl, has already become CM many times in celluloid. On screen, he can single-handedly reclaim PoK, but off it his image is not larger than wife. He needs quite a lot of propping up, as a prospective CM, that is. GK Vasan’s fledgling TMC, on a re-run now, has not yet made any bid. The parent Cong is in no position to. The moment anyone ‘leader’ whispers ‘CM’ his present chair would be rocked by the factional heads on either side. Actually, Rahul can give it a shot, provided Khushboo is not in the race. He will be mumbled, er, humbled, or else.

The closest thing to TN in India is Bihar. Robbery Devi did a Janaki MGR by becoming CM after cowboy Lalu was caught milking the State dry. His arch enemy, that ‘Nitis’ Kumar, an ally now, installed an unknown Manjhi as puppet CM, post LS-poll debacle. Manjhi however proved no Ammanji, dud, got emboldened by the dalit vote-base. Last heard, his show ended, with Nitish, having cleaned up his conscience, could be back as CM!

Quite an entertainment for cm, common man, the supposed real CM, king, in a democracy!

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Jawahar T R