'Jayalalithaa treats allies as subservient, not equals'
A fiery verbal exchange between Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam leader Vijayakanth and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu assembly on Wednesday resulted in the DMDK being evicted.
Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier talks to analysts and politicians to find out what impact it would have on the political situation in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's outburst against the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and its party chief Vijayakanth in the Tamil Nadu assembly has not come as a surprise to anyone in the state. Also, everybody knows that the sparring of words will not have any impact on the current political alignments, as the DMDK -- though it contested the elections as an ally of the AIADMK front -- had made it clear that it would work only as a constructive opposition.
Panruti Ramachandran, the presidium chairman of the DMDK, after the alliance was struck, had said, "Even if the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led alliance wins, we will not be partners in governing. That is the agreement we have with them."
The alliance with DMDK broke even before it was formed. First, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam left and after the AIADMK unilaterally announced a list of candidates, there was pressure on DMDK to form a third front. However, Panruti held marathon discussions with J Jayalalithaa's party and other allies in the coalition to prevent it from falling apart. Panruti had also admitted that though their other alliance friends clamoured for a third front, he was against it. "We told the others that it would be advantageous to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Congress, so we should not go for it," Panruti said.
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Image: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa
'Sparring will have no impact on political situation in Tamil Nadu'
Jayalalithaa has a reputation of not treating her allies with respect. It was not just small allies who had to bear the brunt of her attack, but even national parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party have experienced it. The BJP saw it at the famous tea party in the late 1990s; Atal Bihari Vajpayee's BJP-led government had to go after 13 months when Jayalalithaa hobnobbed with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Gnani, a well-known political analyst, is of the opinion that the sparring of words between the AIADMK and DMDK will have no impact in the political situation in Tamil Nadu now. "DMDK is the main opposition party and they are sure to raise issues concerning the people. They are expected to behave that way," Gnani said.
On being asked how the people of Tamil Nadu would look at Jayalalithaa's scathing attack on the party and party president, Gnani said, "Her words will not surprise the people, as they are used to her outbursts. Earlier when the Paattali Makkal Katchi was her ally, she had spoken about the PMK also similarly. She has treated all her allies as subservient and not as equals. Karunanidhi treats his allies as equal, at least he pretends."
Gnani, however, agrees with one of Jayalalithaa's comments that the AIADMK would have won even without the DMDK. "The result of the 2011 assembly elections was anti-DMK and not pro-AIADMK. In fact, Tamil Nadu has never had any pro-result. She may claim that the result was pro-AIADMK but it was anti-DMK in reality."
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Image: DMDK founder-leader and actor Vijayakanth
'Jayalalithaa has abused every ally of her party'
Gnani said that the DMDK will now try to strengthen their base and try to improve their vote share from 8 to 10 per cent by 2014, so that they can have good bargaining power either with the Congress or the BJP. "They will continue from where they had started -- to be a strong third force," he said.
The pandemonium in the assembly started when V S Chandhira Kumar, the propaganda secretary of the DMDK, raised the issue of increase in milk price. He said, "I never expected this kind of denouement to my question. We are there as the main opposition party and our job is to raise issues. When I raised the issue of rise in the price of milk and the increase in bus fare, it resulted in a fight. Last time when the assembly met, we only discussed the Mullaperiyar dam issue and we all supported the government's stand. After that, we are meeting now, and people expect us to raise these two important issues."
Kumar said that if Jayalalithaa says that she should not have allied with the DMDK, the party itself took such a decision before the elections. "But there was a lot of pressure from lakhs of party workers to go with an ally. As we were fighting the corrupt DMK, we couldn't ally with them and the other option was AIADMK. In an open rally, Captain (as Vijayakanth is known) asked the party workers what he should do, and all of them shouted in unison that we must go with the AIADMK," he said.
"Our party workers are very angry and unhappy. They will not tolerate this. We will show how strong we are. We will give it back to the AIADMK -- that is for sure. Then they will know who we are. Today, we are ousted from the assembly but they will know what we are made of. We do not look at it as an insult on us, but it is an insult on the people of Tamil Nadu. What did we do? We raised an issue that affects the people," Kumar said.
To a question whether Jayalalithaa's outburst shocked the party, the propaganda secretary replied in the negative. "We all know Jayalalithaa. It is her habit to abuse others. This is not the first time that she is doing it. She has abused every ally of her party."
One person who must be laughing at all the development must be Vaiko (V Gopalsamy), who broke away from the AIADMK front before the 2011 assembly elections calling Jayalalitha "an arrogant and egoistic ally." Panruti Ramachandran, at that time, had described Jayalalithaa as "generous, magnanimous and flexible."
He, however, could not be reached for his latest observation.
Image: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa with senior BJP leader LK Advani