With 'disqualified' AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha on the offensive, seeking voter sympathy, and her
electoral allies losing no time in swearing by
her leadership, the people and the Governor of Tamil Nadu will decide on the political
future of the former state chief minister.
If the AIADMK alliance now depends on the voters'
decision, any favourable verdict would put the ball
before the Governor, Justice Fatima Beevi, to decide on Jayalalitha's eligibility to become chief
"Makkal theerpei mahesan theerpu," Jayalalitha
declared, at campaign meetings, even as the
disqualification decision was expected,
implying that the voters' verdict had the power
to wipe out the decision of the
returning officers in the four constituencies from
where she had filed her papers.
"It is not just in
four constituencies, but in all 141 constituencies of
the AIADMK that I deem to contest from," she added,
after the decisions were announced on Tuesday
"Thus, you have to vote for the AIADMK in all
141 constituencies," she appealed to the voters of
Ramanathapuram and Sivaganga districts, where she was
If her adversaries thought that she would get into a cocoon, as was the case with her at
times of adversity, it was not to be this time.
Belying predictions, she went out campaigning, without retiring from the street battle,
and also went on the offensive.
"Karunanidhi has conspired to get me disqualified,"
she declared, without bothering about the aspersions
her declaration could cast on the returning
officers, and thus the Election Commission.
"He sees me as a hurdle in the way of his
mayoral son M K Stalin becoming chief minister," she
added, for cause.
Unperturbed, Karunanidhi too has started going on the
offensive for the first time in three decades, on the
issue of Stalin. "He has every right to become
chief minister. After all, he has been
in politics for over three decades, and was imprisoned for purely political reasons during the
Emergency, and not on corruption charges," he has started stating in the last few years
after Jayalalitha's disqualification became public.
f Karunanidhi sees no 'sympathy wave' in favour of
Jayalalitha following the disqualification, the AIADMK allies not only see one, but are very desperate
for the creation of one in the coming weeks. Short of
a leader to be projected for chief ministership, they
feel weapon-less on a battle field.
Tamil Maanila Congress founder G K Moopanar has described Jayalalitha's
disqualification as 'unfortunate', while the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist allies in the state have declared no change in the
leadership or the alliance question, between now and
the May 10 polls.
PMK founder S Ramadoss has taken a similar line.
The AIADMK alliance is now
counting on a possible 'sympathy wave' to deliver the
votes for Jayalalitha leadership. Her filing nominations from four constituencies in
different regions of the state would help carry her
'conspiracy' message more effectively into the
interior villages, they hope.
With no clear political
wave showing up, they feel, any small shift
in voting pattern, influenced by even a weak wave
of sympathy in favour of Jayalalitha, would help.
However, questions remain on the possibility of the
Governor inviting Jayalalitha to form a government, if
and when the alliance won. Jayalalitha aides count
on a 'popular mandate' as cause enough for her being
invited to form a government.
Ramadoss went a step further to say that Jayalalitha could become
a legislator within the mandated six months after becoming chief minister.
According to this camp, the Governor is duty-bound to
invite Jayalalitha to form a government, if elected
leader by a majority of MLAs. They cited a Supreme Court judgement in
the Assembly dissolution case, when the Janata
Party Government of the late prime minister, Morarji
Desai, dismissed nine Congress state governments and
dissolved their assemblies. A nine-judge
constitution bench of the Supreme Court upheld the
Centre's decision, which, it argued, was based on
the people's mandate in the post-Emergency Lok Sabha
polls of 1977.
However, others stated that the
question involved the 'pleasure of the governor' to
invite a person to become chief minister. Just as it
could not be a subjective decision of the governor on
matters of majority, it could not be so, either on
matters of basic principles.
They referred to the observations of Dr B R Ambedkar, chairman
of the Drafting Committee, when the constituent
assembly discussed the 'dismissal of state
According to Ambedkar, the President or Governor had to look not only into the
majority that a minister enjoyed in the legislature, but also into the 'legality' of such
appointments and continuance. If a person is not
qualified to contest elections on the basis of a court
conviction that had not been suspended, it would also
flow that such a person could not hold a more
substantive post like chief ministership, which should be based on his becoming a legislature.
To them, the six-month period offered for ministers to
become legislators should be seen as an exception. As they further note, any exception could lead to a scheme of constitutional dictatorship, whereby a person could continue to be a
chief minister or prime minister for most of five
years, without being responsible to the legislature by
quitting office at the turn of every six months,
to circumvent provisions of the law.
That certainly was not the intent or purpose of the
founding fathers, or of the constitutional scheme of
things, they argue.
The sources also refer to recent resignations of Buta Singh and then AIADMK leader
Sedapatti R Muthiah from the Union Cabinet, after
charges were framed against them in criminal
But, says the AIADMK camp, these resignations
were not mandatory under law, but only flowed from
the Bharatiya Janata Party's leadership's exigency to maintain the 'Mr Clean' image of Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, pointing
out, how the latter continued to be looking the other
way when his party ministers were known to be
involved in the Ayodhya demolition case, without
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