ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tamil Nadu - Election 2001: Changing Equations

While the AIADMK vote share has gone up significantly, corruption charges against Jayalalitha were not vote-catching slogans. After all, the AIADMK under Jayalalitha has emerged as a 'rural industry' which has become a channel for 'money circulation' that the party manages to mobilise while in power. Its return to power has much to do with ensuring a return to status quo, especially in the western industrial regions of the state. Nevertheless, the poll results are likely to bring about changes in the political landscape, because it is now clear that populist mobilisation based on the dichotomy of anti-Aryanisation versus Dravidian nativity will no longer yield results.

In the Name of Secularism

The Left's obsession with anti-BJPism has been taken to absurd lengths in Tamil Nadu. It has invested what is a fight for power between the DMK and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, in which the BJP is virtually uninvolved, with secular/communal connotations and, on those false premises, chosen to join the AIADMK-led front, turning a blind eye to the proven charges of corruption against Jayalalitha. Worse, the Left has actively opposed the formation of a third front, even though in the long run the Left in Tamil Nadu will gain only by expanding its base and aligning with parties such as the TMC, thereby loosening the duopoly of power of DMK and AIADMK.

Tamil Nadu : Shifting Alliances

When the DMK and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) finally decided to part ways, no one was really surprised. It had always been a marriage of convenience. They had joined forces in the wake of the NDA-moved confidence motion at the centre in 1999. Ditched by its erstwhile partners – the TMC, the JD and the left parties which voted against the motion – the DMK was looking for new partners and the PMK responded to its overtures. Even in its initial days, there was much speculation that the alliance would be short-lived and ‘politically incompatible’. These prognostications have now been borne out, with the PMK’s break with the DMK and the resignation of its ministers from the NDA government at the centre.

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