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Home > News > Report

Vijayakanth - An emerging force in TN politics

October 20, 2006 02:32 IST

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More than the emphatic victory of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the civic polls as well as the assembly by-election, it is the creditable performance of the fledgling Desiya Dravida Murpokku Kazhagam filmstar-politician Vijayakanth, which acquires far greater political significance.

'Captain,' as the actor is called by his admirers, has emerged as a potential alternative to both the DMK and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Indicative of the spectacular rise and consolidation of the DMDK, it also throws up a wake up call to the political establishment in the Dravidian land, according to political observers.

In the bypoll to Madurai Central constituency, the party came third in the race, but had polled 17,394 votes, 5,356 more than the previous election. Interestingly, it was only marginally behind the AIADMK, which retained the second spot with 19,909 votes.

And with a commendable show in the civic election, the party has carved out a space for itself. 'Appreciable progress' was the pat from Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who refused to talk about the DMDK.

By attempting to occupy the void left unaddressed for long in the political landscape, Vijaykanth has become the focal point of anti-Dravidian sentiments, gaining ground among voters, disenchanted with both the DMK and AIADMK.

This yearning for 'change,' opening up new possibilities, essentially involve a churning and a strong negation of other junior players, like Vaiko and Dalit Panthers of India leader Thol Thirumavalavan, cultivating a larger-than life image, and making them increasingly irrelevant, an analyst noted.

Any observer of Tamil Nadu politics could not miss the bonding between film and political discourse in the state, providing a peculiar political idiom. Vijaykanth has proved to be an effective communicator and a crowd puller, displaying skills of mass mobilisation. Dispensing with ostentatious public meetings, the mainstay of the Dravidian parties, he has campaigned on his caravan.

The actor had single handedly taken on the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance and the AIADMK, which had the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam with it. The burden was shared by his wife Premalatha, who struck an emotional chord with the common people.

Turning the poll arena into an opportunity to challenge the monotony and irrelevance of Dravidian political leadership, Vijaykanth, reported to be closer to the saffron ideology, has made inroads into the domain of the dominant Dravidian parties.

With his advent, the existing space for caste-based political mobilisation has not only come under increasing strain but face the prospect of being relegated to the backburner, a political analyst observed.

Ascendancy of the actor has been made easy since forces that emerged as a counter to film-based and personality-oriented politics have ultimately lost steam by making compromises, contrary to their ideology and principles, it was pointed out.

With coalition politics coming to stay both at the Centre and in the state, Captain has emerged as an important player. A striking factor of the DMDK is that it has been able to rally behind it the youth and the new voters, mostly from the fringe groups and backward communities, longing for an identity. No wonder, this has witnessed mass exodus from the smaller parties.

The advent and ascendancy of 'Captain,' with no ideology or a programme, in the words of another observer, signaled the divorcing of ideology from politics in the Dravidian land, in the era of globalisation.


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