Issues, many-‘pest’os, cam‘pain’s

As in every election, the current one too is replete with issues. Even a cursory glance at the pollscape will show many issues frantically scurrying about. Issues can figure but how can they run and walk around? Confused?

Let me clarify before Thangkabalu disturbs and misinterprets my train of thought. By issues I am just referring to the children of political leaders, who are now contestants. Clearly, for TN politicos, all people’s issues mean nothing, compared to their kith, kin and their own skin.

The foremost issue is Stalin and I don’t grudge him. He has earned his spurs by dint of hard work though being K’s favourite progeny prompted his promotion in the ranks. K’s elder son Alagiri is no longer an issue. I mean, he remains K’s issue but is no longer an issue of bother to his brother.

Kanimozhi, Stalin’s step issue, has fallen in step with K’s chosen issue. No issue for Stalin on family count now with the days of heir-splitting buried with K.

Maran’s issue Dayanidhi who is a much discussed issue in ED, CBI and such other circles, too, is in the fray. So are the issues of senior DMK functionaries Durai Murugan, Arcot Veerasami, Thangapandian, to name a few. To be fair to them, they were all selected only after a ‘rigorous and intense’ direct interview by Stalin himself. Quite fair, indeed!

AIADMK has its own quota for its politicos’ issues. Deputy CM’s issue, Junior OPS, is a notable one. Minister D Jayakumar’s son is a sitting MP and is standing again. While a former Madurai Mayor’s son has cornered Madurai, Tirunelveli has gone to Manoj Pandian, son of former Speaker P H Pandian.

BJP’s Tamilisai, veteran Cong leader Kumari Ananthan’s female issue, has no issues in being a member of her dad’s opposite legacy. Thoothukudi will see an interesting battle of wits and women, both VIP issues, armed with a host of issues. Anbumani Ramadoss of PMK, of course, is a well-known issue who made a big issue of becoming CM himself, only to issue a no-issues-certificate later. All parties of TN when poked about nasty dynasty politics have in one voice declared that their issues have been given tickets purely on merit issues.

We will now move on to manifestos. I don’t know how the middle word in the heading became many-‘pest’os, sounding somewhat like an exotic Italian dish. I suspect the hand of Thangkabalu here. That said, ‘many’ and ‘pest’, albeit inadvertent, seem appropriate and accurate, though that does not exonerate Thangkabalu. If the many politicians are a pest, so are their promises.

The manifestos of both sides, AIADMK and DMK, need to be sanitised with pesticide to purge them of their misguiding, rather comical, assurances they have testified to. The two parties have made grandiose declarations that only a majority LS and RS can implement. Contesting in just 20 seats apiece, such flatulent boast calls for real gall.

Both have much in common, particularly on issues (not VIP children, here), on BPL families, river linking, Sri Lankan war crimes and Rajiv assassination convicts, quotas, NEET, etc. But the AIADMK is careful to quality these with words like ‘insist’, ‘demand’, ‘reiterate’, ‘urge’, etc.

DMK is not so circumspect. Its promises are assertive and it is ‘we will’ all through even though virtually everything falls in the realms of the Central government. So, there would be reservation in private sector and the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test will exit. There will be no direct transfer of subsidy for LPG, while cylinder prices will be brought down. This is no gas but a serious promise. All crop loans will be waived across India by the DMK. A JPC to probe Rafale is on the anvil. Compensation to victims of demonetisation is a mighty master stroke that is bound to befuddle economists of all hues. Wonder if their national ally, Congress, could match these assurances. Maybe the DMK should have also made a final punch that it will pass, not propose, a constitutional amendment to make Rahul permanent PM and if necessary, secure UN approval for that. Did I mention pest anywhere?

Now, to the last word in the heading. The pain pun was my making and T’balu is innocent. But this does not negate the fact that he was a big pain in Rahul’s, er, neck. The DMK’s much trumpeted alliance jamboree became the butt of jokes thanks to one person chiefly. Thangkabalu was unsparing on his chief, Cong’s main ‘issue’, Rahul, S/O Sonia Maino. But the people are still at pains to control their laughter as meme after meme inundate their mobiles. We in TN are keenly awaiting Rahul’s campaign, not to hear Rahul’s words but that of his translator who has given an inferiority complex to his leader in goof-ups.

DMK leader Stalin, before starting his campaign, in a great demonstration of rationalism, placed the candidates list at his father’s tomb. One could see the tears of pain that issued forth from this cherished issue of K. Apparently, after getting his father’s approval, by some mysterious mode of communication, he sought the blessings of the mother and stepmother, and then, once again symbolically, launched his campaign from Tiruvarur, K’s native district. Udhayanidhi Stalin’s campaign in contrast was devoid of pain but rather typically cinematic, of the rom-com variety. Stalin’s issue whose blessing is much sought after by all candidates as a ritual, exhorted voters of South Chennai to ‘send a beautiful lady, DMK South Chennai candidate Tamizhachi, I/O, Late Thangapandian, to Parliament’ and she blushed. You see, campaigns always need not be a pain.

AIADMK campaign has begun on expected lines with the usual suspects in total form. State Minister Rajenthra Bhalaji has claimed that his party has not talked of prohibition and Tasmac because if the tipplers of TN are denied their daily drink they would be put to much pain and even die of nervous tension. Mixing his usual quixotic quota to the cocktail is Minister Dindigul Srinivasan, who suddenly discovered that ‘Rahul is Narendra Modi’s grandson’, giving us some real kicks of the pleasant, not painful variety! But it looks much of BJP’s campaign would be bogged down by ways to handle not its opponents but the above pains masquerading as partners. BJP must get reconciled to ‘no pain, no gain’!

It was rumoured that Udhayanidhi Stalin and V’kanth’s son, to name but two, would contest the elections. All this talk about the VIP issues have turned out to be a tissue of lies.

Now, I am nearing the deadline for this issue, so let me wrap up lest I myself become a pest and a pain – if not already.

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Jawahar T R