A shell shocked opposition in general and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in particular in Tamil Nadu are finding it difficult to come to grips with the verdict in the disproportionate assets corruption case against All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary J Jayalalithaa, says R Ramasubramanian.
After Justice C R Kumarasami of the Karnataka high court absolved J Jayalalithaa and three others of all charges and acquitted them in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case the Opposition is totally clueless about its next course of action.
For the past seven months and more, ever since Jayalalithaa and three others were convicted by a special judge Michael D John Cunha, the Opposition was gaining confidence slowly and started aiming big for the scheduled elections in May 2016.
In fact the Opposition started getting its act together when the principal Opposition leader of the assembly and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam president, actor turned politician Vijayakanth managed to lead a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Cauvery water issue.
Vijayakanth a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance in Tamil Nadu led a delegation which consisted representatives from the Congress, the DMK, the Tamil Maanila Congress and a few small parties and the delegation demanded the PM to intervene and prevent Karanataka from constructing a check dam across Cauvery at Megathadu.
The hopes of the Opposition received a major jolt after Monday’s judgement. Now it is facing a resurgent Jayalalithaa, who seems akin to a wounded tigress.
While Jayalalithaa claimed her victory as the victory of people of Tamil Nadu, her arch rival, DMK president M Karunanidhi quotes Mahatma Gandhi and says, “There is a court above all courts and that is the conscience.”
Even a hardcore DMK cadre knows what does this means.
“Quoting Mahatma Gandhi at this juncture proves how vulnerable we are. Whenever we are down and under and struggling without hopes our leader used to quote Mahatma. You can understand the situation easily,” says a DMK worker at the party headquarters in Chennai.
But saner elements within the DMK, the DMDK and few others parties genuinely feel that this is indeed a golden opportunity for the Opposition unity in the state.
The DMK is facing an uncertain future as the judgment in the 2G case is expected in three to four months time. The stakes are very high for the DMK.
Jayalalithaa knew very well that nothing short of a full-fledged acquittal will help her and she achieved that.
But the Opposition which had actually put in all its eggs on one basket, i.e., “an unavoidable conviction” for Jayalalithaa in the Karnataka high court is now forced to swallow the bitter truth.
“Unless there is a broad unity among ourselves the chances of stopping Jayalalithaa in the next elections is going to be very difficult. We are aware of the unfolding danger after this verdict,” a former minister and senior DMK leader told Rediff.com.
But the unity among the Opposition is not that much easy either. The major opposition DMK commands 25 per cent votes and rest of the opposition, which are likely to join with the DMK, the DMDK, the Congress, the Left and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam put together command 12 to 14 per cent votes.
The bloated ego and the mercurial character of DMDK leader Vijayakanth and the dilly-dallying of the Left and the Congress in aligning with the DMK may play a spoil sport in the final stages and the situation may become tough if Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and A Raja are convicted in the 2G case.
But the alternative to not cobbling a united front against Jayalalithaa may force the Opposition especially the DMK to pay a very heavy price.
“Already we are out of power for the past four years and if we are forced to undergo another five years without power, well, it means we are heading for oblivion in the state politics,” a former DMK MP told Rediff.com.
But a section of DMK is optimistic.
“Everything is for good. A convicted Jayalalithaa sent to jail would have certainly earned goodwill and votes among the masses. Now she is acquitted and this will make her to do more mistakes and we will definitely exploit it to our advantage,” Kannadasan, a DMK lawyer and local party leader tols Rediff.com.
The reaction of the Left parties, the Paattali Makkal Katchi and the Congress in the state are guarded and it betrayed their disappointment and sadness.
But in private conversations, leaders from these parties and the DMDK admit that unless they come together and put up a joint fight it’s very difficult to face Jayalalithaa.
A few days ago while indulging in fantasies about Jayalalithaa’s downfall in the Karnataka High Court, Karunanidhi in a statement said that it was imperative to come together and cobble a coalition of all political parties to defeat the AIADMK.
While he said this about the defeat of the AIADMK but now even the opposition’s survival hinges on secure decent numbers in the 234 member TN assembly which necessitates a mega alliance against Jayalalithaa.