'What we see here is puppetry.'
The string is with the BJP.'
'All the puppets here are dancing to the direction the BJP pulls the strings.'
There is not a dull day in Tamil Nadu politics, with one group fighting the other one day, and joining hands the next day.
Now that the Madras high court has extended its stay on the disqualification of 18 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislators by the speaker to October 4, the suspense will continue for a few more days.
In the meantime, actor Kamal Haasan has made clear his political plans while superstar Rajinikanth continues to maintain a silence after indicating a political turn.
Dr R Manivannan, professor and head of the department of politics and public administration at the University of Madras, discusses the political situation with Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier.
Now that the Madras high court has extended its stay on the disqualification of 18 MLAs, do you see some calm returning to the Tamil Nadu political scene and the government becoming stable and functional?
No, this government will be neither stable nor functional. And calm?
What you see here is like the peace in a graveyard.
So, there is absolutely no calm or stability in the state.
What happened till now is a show run by the EPS-OPS (Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam) combine with the connivance of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party in a shrewd and cunning way to retain control of the legislature.
See, they are doing everything step by step.
But the disqualification cannot be unconstitutional as it does not come under the anti-defection law...
Yes, if the disqualification does not come under the anti-defection law, what is the need to remove them?
But if it is Constitutional to remove them, you have to evoke the anti-defection law.
You have to be quite certain to say that they violated the party whip while voting or given in writing that they were leaving the party, but they have not done either.
They have only expressed their dissatisfaction over the chief minister; not even of the government.
T T V Dinakaran of the rival group wants EPS to be removed as chief minister only because he was made to sit on the chair by his aunt V K Sasikala. So TTV wants him out because he thinks he was not being loyal?
I agree with you. I find no difference between Dinakaran or EPS or OPS. I would say all of them should go.
They are talking about the mandate they have. The truth is, they have no mandate to rule; the mandate was for Jayalalithaa and the party to rule.
Now the party is split into three different factions and the party symbol is not with any of them.
So, fundamentally they have lost all the credibility to rule the state.
Yes, TTV does not have the numbers to form the government, but he questions the credibility and dares the chief minister to prove his majority, or go for a change of leadership.
The state administration is totally paralysed. How long can a state go on like this?
I will blame the BJP for perpetuating injustice in the state.
This state has been without a governor for a year now. The governor only comes here primarily at the call of the BJP and the EPS-OPS faction.
Otherwise, he is away and not even looking at the demands of the state.
What stops the governor from verifying what the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and other Opposition parties are saying; they have more than 90 members in the legislature.
Some 19 or 20 MLAs have given in writing that they are not in favour of the present chief minister.
The DMK asks whether these MLAs want to vote against the government or with the opposition.
Why is it that such a large voice in the Opposition remain unheard?
Do you see the EPS-OPS combine start to make some decisions and doing something for the state?
Your question acknowledges the fact they have not done anything till now.
For them to do something, they have to have a development vision or a policy vision.
Look at the way they celebrated the centenary celebrations of (AIADMK founder) MGR (former chief minister M G Ramachandran); it was done with the tax-payers' money but it turned out to be a party affair.
A month ago, the government said it would order a probe into Jayalalithaa's death, and that was the binding factor for the EPS and OPS camps.
Other than that announcement, have they done anything?
There is a kind of restlessness in society on issues like NEET, fishermen's problems, farmers suicide etc, but who cares about all that?
Do you feel they are not interested in anything other than their own survival?
Precisely. They have no interest or commitment to the state; they are enjoying the mandate given to Jayalalithaa and the party that no longer exists.
What will the BJP gain by keeping this government in place? Will they be able to sneak into the state this way?
They don't have to sneak in; they are ruling the state right now.
The BJP without a single member in the assembly is ruling Tamil Nadu now.
This is the last frontier for the ideology the BJP follows; religion-based, caste-based communal ideology and they want to push this agenda in Tamil Nadu.
But I must say that resistance to this agenda will be the most in this state.
They want to unite and ride on the back of EPS and OPS to state politics.
Once the EPS-OPS faction gets the party symbol, they may give a share in the local government to the BJP.
They know what the BJP wants and that is, to get into Tamil Nadu politics without any base.
When Jayalalithaa passed away, everybody expected the AIADMK to disintegrate soon, but almost a year later, they are still hanging on...
The party did split in a matter of two months. After that, they are on artificial respirator felicitated by the BJP.
What we see here is bommalattam or puppetry.
The string is with the BJP and all the puppets here are dancing to the direction the BJP pulls the strings.
Do you think fresh election is the only option for the state?
Yes, that is a better option than seeing the survival instincts of this government.
But I am sure neither the EPS-OPS group nor the BJP is interested in going for a fresh election.
Is there any party, even the DMK, that is interested in an election now? Will the people be interested?
I think the people would prefer a relief from this tamasha.
Is there any other option for the people?
Should the people be witnessing this drama of splitting and then joining hands and then parting ways? With a fresh election, all this will end.
If an election is held soon, will it be advantage DMK and M K Stalin?
I don't think he is fully prepared to face an election. He is not in tune with a fresh election.
The DMK wants this government to go and they think that will bring them back.
But if an election comes, we will be in for some surprises.
You mean Rajinikanth?
No. Rajinikanth is already in co-habitation with the BJP.
Will Rajinikanth be able to make an impact in the election if he plunges into politics?
I think the impact will only be marginal.
In the last one year, all politicians in Tamil Nadu are acting and actors are politicking.
If somebody wants to do some harm to Rajinikanth, they can wish him with the dream of becoming the chief minister.
It is like pushing him into the deep sea. It is the best way to drown him.
The truth is, he can only be a marginal player.
For all his intelligence and public intellectual role, Kamalahaasan is unpredictable in political investment while Rajinikanth is unprepared.
I think people are far more intelligent than you think.
What I see in the future is coalition politics in Tamil Nadu, an anti-BJP and anti-AIADMK coalition of forces.
Some of the AIADMK people also may switch sides saying they are tired of being run by the BJP.