Start game: Love all

St Valentine’s caricatured face can’t be even remotely related to romance. The legend is even hazy, but it has stuck and even spread to these parts. But I am invoking him now only as a metaphor of the times, just in case some sena misunderstands me. Ink on my facade would spoil my chances on Feb 14!

This Valentine’s day heralds the political mating season. With about ninety days to go for the TN polls, parties have begun their frantic search for prospective partners. As the short springtime steadily draws close to the searing summer hustings, expect strange bedfellows to spring up from the woodwork.

But not before much meeting, greeting, dating and often, scooting, midway. There will be love after first fight, stalking – talking – sulking, romps in the street and in the shades, break ups and patch-ups, marriage of the divorced and divorce of the married and sundry other things that go with the business of love.

TN politics’ core genetics is cinema. The State seems like a theater of the absurd with all the tell-tale characteristics of celluloid. Not surprising since the same players, past and present, actors and scriptwriters, dot the stage and screen. Punch dialogues are public policy and songs become manifestos.

So, as in reel so in real. Like in the filmy first half, most political suitors now feel the urge for a dicey consort to make it through the altar in May. Alliances are vital and therefore dalliances too. No party is taboo, and anyone with the right dowry of votes is ripe for picking. For a relationship to blossom, for some just a wink will do; and there are those who have to be wooed hard. Either way, political love is ideology blind which is only expected in that lusty world of power and pelf.

TN is a pioneer in amorous political affairs and infidelity. There has never been a coalition regime here, despite the alternating single party rule of DMK and AIADMK riding on strong pre-election alliances that were clinchers. But the allies never made it to the Government, thanks to the paranoia of the pompous prima donnas of the two Dravidian parties, who can brook no company, unless it is family or friend. Those wooed vigorously during polls are shooed mercilessly away after. St Valentine’s blessings can be dispensed with once St Georges’ is secured!

Modi’s BJP majority Government at the Centre has pre-poll allies in it. In 1996 and 2006 DMK came to power courtesy TMC and Cong. But the latter two dared not stake claim. The question never arose with J, but we know. The closest to come anywhere near sharing honours with her was ‘vice’ Captain V’Kanth and he soon found even his opposition status in the Assembly getting dissolved. J and V never shared stage during the ‘11 poll campaign and estrangement was built into the deal. V must blame his blurred vision for failing to see the danger lurking behind the damsel.

Jilted and jolted, these past sweethearts sweating out in the cold cry foul and then float around aimlessly for a while. And then as circumstances turn against the incumbent who had unceremoniously put them back in the market, they slowly turn towards and then rush to the other ‘natural’ partner, replete with tearful memories and choice rhetoric. The Congress, ever since it lost power in ‘67, has been part of this roulette. Its offshoot, TMC, now there, now not, and then back, had followed its parent. The liberal Left has swung liberally like a pendulum between Aiyya and Amma every five years.

The PMK is promiscuity personified. Vaiko is all over the place and no one really knows who his real political partners or paramours are. There are a host of caste and communal outfits parading their electoral wares to attract the roving eyes of the big two. Of course, such political orgies in State do not entitle these castaways to any sympathy because almost all of them have been part of both NDA and UPA and other coalition governments in the Centre in the last thirty years. That explains their longevity and deep pockets too.

This 25 years stereotype might see some shifts this time. V’kanth is wiser and wants the DMK to shed its bachelorhood when in power. He is in no hurry to tie the knot with anyone. PMK says it will remain single, but its marital status is negotiable depending on the proposal. The Left by its familiar tradition should now move to DMK’s household, unless it wants to be left out in the political red. Ditto with Cong which is bound by the wireless 2G connection. Polygamous DMK has space for all … till polls, that is.

And yes. The Now Defunct Alliance, NDA in TN which only has BJP. I did not talk about it because nobody does. Not even its high command!

Now where does all this leave us, the real ones who need to be courted?

e-mail the writer at [email protected]

Jawahar T R