The record victory of TTV Dhinakaran in the RK Nagar assembly by-polls has once again proved that ideology or policy positions generally do not hold any relevance in national politics in general and Tamil Nadu politics in particular and that money, opportunism and the tactics to invoke sentiments are the decisive factors.
Film star Jayalalitha, who has been revered by the Tamils as Amma, had been winning the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly seat with a huge majority. Dhinakaran, the nephew of Sasikala who had been a close aide of Jayalalitha, has now won the by-election to the RK Nagar assembly seat with a majority that surpassed hers. While Madhusudhanan, the candidate of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) secured 48, 306 votes, independent candidate Dhinakaran won by securing 89, 013 votes, almost double the votes secured by the former. He bagged 1, 162 votes more than that received by Puratchi Thalaivi last year. The DMK candidate Marudhu Ganesh who ventured into the fray putting his bets on the internal dissensions in the ruling party lost the security deposit, Karu Nagarajan. The candidate of BJP which claims to be the world’s largest party, got a meagre 1, 417 votes which was even below the None of the Above (NOTA) option. How did Dhinakaran succeed in clinching such a spectacular victory? Even he does not seem to claim with any certainty that it was due to the charisma of his personality or invincible public support. While Dhinakaran earlier had become a member of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the recommendation of ‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala, he was expelled by Jayalalitha for the disrepute he had acquired. In fact, the capital investment for the games played by Dhinakaran is nothing but the wealth amounting to crores gained by the Mannargudi mafia through the bad influence on the party and government.
The Directorate of Enforcement had imposed a penalty of Rs 25 crore in a case for violating the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA). Though the RK Nagar by-elections were due in April following the death of Jayalalitha, the Election Commission which was caught in a surprise at the flood of black money, was being compelled to postpone it. The Commission had seized Rs 87 crore then. This time again, Rs 40 crore was seized. It is no secret that a major portion of this amount belonged to the Mannargudi mafia. An amount of Rs 6,000 was reportedly given as the price for each vote. The leader of the group anyway crushed his opponents and emerged victorious. Dhinakaran has predicted that the EPS-OPS government would fall in three months.
Eighteen dissident MLA's who are awaiting court verdict, are already with them. With the abstention of three ministers from the cabinet of EPS-OPS ministry itself, the first signs of a collapse have come out clear. The desertion by the rest and a split in the party are just a matter of time. For obviating that, Dhinakaran may have to be given the post he demands, and thereafter the alliance will have to succumb to every illegal pressure by him. And in this game, the country's ruling party, the BJP is at a loss as to who to ally itself with, and who all to take along with itself. The eyes of BJP, to whom political integrity or ethics have been restraining factors, are set solely on immediate profit and loss. And from that perspective, Amit Shah may devise a strategy to hold Karunanidhi's DMK close, to split AIADMK and to rope in its numerically stronger group. But that is conditional on the DMK making a favourable response. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Karunanidhi at his residence, and the cancellation of his foreign tour by MK Stalin to receive the prime minister, were significant developments that had hit national headlines. Pertinently, the DMK itself has an antecedent of being with the NDA once, when AIADMK was in the opposite front.
This is the basis for the speculation that if pressed by circumstances, Karunanidhi's team may follow the path followed by Nitish Kumar in Bihar. All the same, the DMK has not abandoned its ties with the Congress, despite the latter's poor strength in Tamil Nadu. The Congress was also instrumental in getting Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi elected to the Rajya Sabha. The left forces whose strength is not crucial in Tamil Nadu and Muslim parties are with the DMK. If the DMK's agenda is a relatively strong secular front, and in the background of the exoneration of A. Raja and Kanimozhi from the 2G spectrum scam case by the special court, Stalin and company may be more inclined to opt for an experiment distancing themselves from the BJP and AIADMK. But to get a clear picture of the prospects of that, the current hazy equations of Tamil Nadu politics will have to clear up first. Whatever may happen, the ultimate outcome will still be determined by money power and distribution of positions.