‘Power of Attorney’ politics

Rational TN can stump lawmen and laymen alike. The happenings here have always been high on absurd theatrics and can easily carry away and confound even the sanest of minds in an emotional sweep. The current scenario is just old wine adulterated by a Midas touch, in fresh disposable plastic crush cups.

Whenever some kind of real or reel show hits the public space suddenly, the optics spike in a jiffy and the din touches such a crescendo that the normal vision is blurred by the haze of hype and our ear drums are thumped and torn beyond tolerance. A frustrated, fatigued populace has no choice but to fall back on its familiar ‘last resorts’, namely social media memes and Vadivelu capers. Thick skin and lighter veins are our insurance against the ceaseless antics.

This past week I have realised the futility of writing on TN politics. Everytime I put and proceed with the finger on the keyboard, it is the ‘backspace’ button that beckons most. Ditto now too. By the time you read this, if indeed you do, bless such souls, the words and thoughts would have been trampled upon by a thousand new ‘developments’ and a million more WhatsApp caricatures, verbal and visual.

So, at the time of going to press, the new CM is Edappadi Palanisamy, EPS, and we will know his status officially only after this issue comes out of press. In just five days, we have had three CM prospects; stop-gap OPS, who had to make way in a huff. The Udan Pirava Sahodhari, UPS, whose power connection was snapped by the SC and her lackey, EPS, all set to blare as His Madam’s Voice, in her stead. And if by some act of God, he fails to make a clean sweep of the floor of the Assembly, the ball will be back in OPS court to prove his claim.

There are some sore points that beg our attention. The MLAs’ prolonged confinement in a luxury resort is actually the most telling proof of undue influence, of all kinds if reports of merry-making are to be believed. There is no clue till the floor test of the numbers in so-called willing captivity. UPS and EPS have consistently said in public that the legislators will be let out only if there is a call by the Governor to form the Government. Indeed, when the hosts themselves issue such blatant ultimatums, it is a classic kidnap-blackmail- hostage scenario.

Is that not reason enough to question their claim and demand release of MLAs first before inviting EPS? There is much debate about the legal obligations of the Governor. The Constitution is no substitute for common wisdom. On the contrary there are many provisions that expressly demand of the titular heads to exercise their discretion or satisfy themselves in these kinds of situations. No court can pressurise a Governor to act within a particular timeframe. It is my considered personal opinion that, having waited for Sasi & Co to get convicted, a stern order to free the MLAs was the most logical step, even if Govt formation were to take some more time. The Constitution and this cursed State would not be any poorer. The dreadful prospect of UPS and then EPS had infused popular psyche with infinite patience. But alas!

Also, OPS had no opportunity to even talk to the MLAs. The MLAs themselves never had the chance to talk to their partymen or to know the mind of their constituency. In a democracy, a legislator’s free will has to emanate and evolve from the will of those whom he/she represents and in our party system, also those who worked for him/her. This never happened, probably out of fear or for some extraneous favours, that need no guesswork. If the MLAs themselves waived this right which is really a duty, they are guilty of a graver crime; failing the people who voted them. We all knew who the people preferred, or at least, who the people did not certainly want. That elected reps feel beholden to those who gave them ticket or whatever else instead of to those who empowered them, is a terrible travesty.

Democracy has thrown up a perverse arithmetic by which the extracted will of around 120-odd characters sans, er, ditto, is all set to negate the visible, spontaneous, collective will of about 8 cr hapless people. Indeed every vote has been vetoed and vitiated. The AIADMK cadre know not how to deal with Chinnamma’s choice when Amma’s perennial preferred person has been put away unceremoniously. For the black mark on our index finger on poll day, we have had too many black days.

So, unless J’s ghost miraculously makes an appearance in her MLAs’ consciences which are now on a holiday, let’s all gear up for a new TN, TTV TN! And from Jungle Raj to Jail Raj. Rationalism has brought us a long way, surely!

Jawahar T R