There is a proverb in Tamil: The patient person will eventually rule the world. (poruththar bhoomi aalwaar). Stalin, the DMK President and CM-to-be, is the quintessential proof of this adage. His has been a truly long wait, the delay wrought by a combination of several factors, within his party, narrow electoral slips and then, agree or not, the ‘irrational’ fate. He was never a pompous victor or a bad loser; come what may, he kept his poise and grace, a characteristic that set him apart from many leaders. In case you have any doubts, just look North.
The best indication of Stalin’s superior prospects was the smooth transition of DMK leadership post Kalaingar’s demise. Of course, Stalin was already the de facto leader as his father had been ailing and inactive for long. Stalin’s elevation to the top slot held by his father for close to 50 years, made his party the only one with an undisputed leader and a very loyal cadre base. There was none of this EPS-OPS tamasha that was dogging the opponent ceaselessly.
Small wonder that an organized DMK, with a stable leadership and clear policies stood the best chance this time. In fact, in 2016 the DMK lost very narrowly unlike the current victory wherein the margins are more than respectable. The party had begun its groundwork much ahead, with the leader himself leading from the front. Stalin knows TN like the back of his hand, having traversed its every nook and cranny, for years, in various capacities and posts.
He is familiar with every issue that matters not just to TN, but also at the national level, although he is happy to keep a low profile. His humility and endearing approach ensured that the cadre not only remained loyal but also motivated, despite years in wilderness. His statements are crisp, to the point, non-theatrical and sans the vitriol that normally fuels Dravidian politics. Though he is the undisputed leader of his party, and the Government now, he is unlikely to promote personality politics. Secure in his knowledge of the State, its subjects and the subjects that matter, he can be expected to decentralize without shedding accountability. Indeed, if what we had seen of him so far is true, which I believe is the case, he would be a welcome change.
Which is exactly what TN direly needs. In J’s reign, if she sneezed, the State caught a cold! Her authoritarian style and the confusion caused by her lethal legacy in the last decade has left the State high, dry and crying for relief. First, there was this ugly scenario of a ruling CM, A1, getting convicted posthumously. The left-overs then took over, with various warring factions jointly and severally writing the dirtiest phase of TN politics for about four months. With the eclipse of A2 Sasikala by prison walls just when she was preparing to step into J’s many footwear, started another repeat of this sordid history, with the emergence of a total non-entity as CM, a person who was videoed crawling on all fours towards Sasi’s feet.
The curtains have come down on all these charades. The last ten years have seen several natural disasters visiting the State, all of them of great magnitude. But the Central assistance, typically, has been meagre, given that TN is forbidden land for the netas of the North. And now we have Covid to contend with, the top priority. Stalin’s key job would be to raise the voice of TN to a high pitch, so that it reaches the ears of Centre, like how all other CMs do, and EPS failed to.
The wish list is long: Fulfilling electoral promises, boost to investment and industry, particularly MSMEs that are suffocating now, reforms in various sectors based on expert advice and not political lobbies, law and order that has been TN’s weak point in the last decade which needs effective political policing too, and above all, lending a sympathetic ear to the problems of the people who have placed their wholesome trust in him. Having been let down by an insensitive and incompetent Centre, they like those in rest of India are desperate for help. The CM, given his administrative abilities, can make a big difference here.
Well, history might have taken its time. But so what? Stalin is sure to be the much needed ‘shot in the arm’ for Tamilnadu.