In tune with the flavour of the season, it is 20:20. The DMK and AIADMK have, by some arithmetic coincidence, decided to keep these many seats for themselves while ceding the other 20 in their kitty to the allies. J & K would be turning in their respective graves, aghast at their weak political progeny surrendering so much, so soon.
So, that’s the fate of the 40 as far as the Dravidian parties are concerned. But the real rub lies not in the calculation of numbers but in the calculations of the members in the two alliances. This rational, self-respecting land of Periyar excels itself in irrationality and shameless self-goals come every poll. The coming one, too, has several such novel nonsense littered all over the pollscape. The tummies of all politicos are overflowing with words uttered in the past and eaten now in a hurry.
First to the AIADMK alliance. Surprisingly, the PMK, which has the reputation of being the last post of political bargains in most elections, dilly-dallying till the end, was first off the block. I have often written in these columns that Dr Ramadoss used to begin from Gemini corner, drive slowly down Cathedral Road, and keep everyone guessing whether he would take the right turn to J’s Poes Garden or the left to K’s Gopalapuram.
I have always wished wistfully that it would be better if he drives straight down to Dr Radhakrishnan Salai and all the way into the Bay of Bengal, much to the State’s relief. This time, however, the Mercurial Maruthuvar took the left turn, hesitated a bit at Gopalapuram, and when the signal didn’t come on time, quickly hurried to the AIADMK headquarters a few metres away. In the process, he bagged a hefty 7 LS and 1 RS. He promptly rendered his thanksgiving by hosting a sumptuous dinner at his sprawling Thailapuram estate to his benevolent benefactors – EPS and OPS. Nothing like a deal sealed over a meal. Digested and disposed are the accusations backed by hard evidence on corruption that the PMK had made against AIADMK.
The mighty national ruling party, with the AIADMK supposedly under its thumb, sauntered into this alliance second and settled for an ignominious five seats. Of course, this seems a big bonus to the desperate TN BJP (an oxymoron) which has a paltry and unproven presence in the State, barring a few pockets like Kanyakumari and Coimbatore. Periyar, the antithesis of all that BJP stands for and the ancestor of the AIADMK, will now be granted a temporary amnesty by the very vocal TN BJP ‘leaders’ who were till Feb-end going to town on the grand old man of Dravidian politics. A BJP on an empty stomach has all the space to eat its own words.
Now, it is 32 gone and 8 left. Puthiya Thamizhagam Krishnaswamy, a lone Dalit ranger for long, has bagged one. Rangasamy, under the banner NR Congress, has secured his home, Pondy. A C Shanmugam, who is used to giving seats in his colleges, has got one for himself in this bandwagon. All three feel well-fed. The balance five seats remains in RAC for you-know-who. But we’ll come to that later.
The grand public rally of Modi on the outskirts of Chennai was a display of alliance strength. But there were a couple of unseemly presences that the BJP can ill-afford to endorse. John Pandian, for instance, has a notorious reputation and a host of criminal cases to his credit. He has posed with Modi which is sure to be a future embarrassment. How could the BJP, whatever its hunger, swallow such a distasteful lump? Clearly, Modi has no clue about anything related to TN which was obvious from the odd and uneasy way his head tried to wear the trademark MGR crown, read, cap.
The first to hop onto the DMK pillion was Congress. After all, Stalin has already declared Rahul as PM, a possibility that Rahul and family themselves are not very sanguine about. The grand old party has got 10 on a platter and is very happy probably because it has already beat its arch enemy, BJP, by five seats pre-poll itself. Of course, the Cong has so many factions that are all arch enemies to one another that distribution of the easily earned seats will be a lot, lot tougher.
CPI, CPI(M) and VCK have all got two each, or rather two more than what they really deserve. But a nervous DMK, which is still ruing losing PMK, does not want to take chances. That someone like Parivendhar, with a dubious political background and even more questionable vote bank (the other Bank is sound) could flex his muscles and get one seat shows up the DMK as spineless. The voluble Vaiko, for his part, with all his voice, noise and nuisance value, has been disdainfully granted 1 LS and 1 RS. The balance two seats have gone apiece to a random, ‘casteless’, Kongu group and the very secular Muslim League.
In this alliance, too, words have been gobbled in gluttonous glee. The Congress which Karunanidhi described as ‘kooda natpu’ (unsavoury friendship) has in turn accused DMK of many things, including having a hand in Rajiv’s killing. But the DMK and Congress have a legacy since 1967 of break-ups and patch-ups that cannot be counted. Therefore, their words count for nothing. In this case, we the people have had our fill.
Vaiko tops the charts in this verbal vapsi contest. To simplify it for readers, Vaiko has promised to make Stalin the CM as many times as he has vowed to prevent him from becoming CM. Indeed, paper ‘tiger’ Vaiko has an insatiable hunger and is always in tearing hurry to lap up as many words and vows he had cast in haste in the past. But then there is so much floating around that Vaiko will have no stomach for it.
Now to the promised subject alluded to in an earlier para vis-a-vis the AIADMK alliance. Smart readers would have noted that I and the AIADMK have left a gap of five in the 40. We have the joker in the pack ‘vice’ Captain V’kanth, represented by self-appointed proxies, wife and b-in-law, still hanging in mid-air as in a stunt scene. His party’s somersaults, all of which have so far landed on terra firma in grotesque postures, is the butt of much black humour today. The only hope, with the DMK having disgraced and shunned him, the family has is the partially open AIADMK door. Clearly, proud Captain is not a chooser.
There are a host of 40-for-us wannabes for whom the current polls are just an appetiser. In Kamal’s MNM, it is open sesame for anyone with the right credentials. Sripriya, Kovai Sarala and poet Snehan, would decide on that. T T V Dhinakaran’s 40 has the mighty Vel Murugan’s Tamizhar Vazhvurimai Katchi. The latter is ‘popular’ for attacking policemen during Chennai IPL and breaking up tollgates. In fact, this Vel Murugan struts around with the prefix Sungam Thagartha Cholan (the Chola who broke tolls).
Seeman, another police-beater in the same IPL and much acclaimed for many such heroic acts, is all set for all 40, as is Sarathkumar who now has declared himself Puratchi Thilagam. T Rajendar’s Latchiya DMK has put off its bid to take on the DMK to the next polls or before his beard falls off, whichever is earlier.
But the real sad news is that we the voters will miss J’s blood progeny, Deepa, and her now-here-now-not husband Madhavan, who have declared they will not contest. Praise their pity for us.
And last, for the record, Rajini is… well, you know the familiar masala. Voice or not, he will vote even if it be from the Himalayas. But it is dieting time for his disappointed fans.
Now, savour this popular political quote for dessert: “In politics, overnight, chicken shit will turn into chicken salad.”
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