The merger of the two factions of AIADMK reflects the hallmark of political hypocrisy. O Panneerselvam had accused E Palaniswamy faction of being totally corrupt. But, now, he conveniently finds pride in becoming the deputy to EPS. Similarly, EPS prostrated before Sasikala. Now, she is removed from the party to facilitate the merger.
The only explanation for these bizarre scenes is the political expediency to save the government for the remaining period. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who talks of zero tolerance to corruption is reportedly the deal maker behind the merger of two factions of AIADMK so that the BJP can ally with it.
Modi congratulated both OPS and EPS for the merger, clearly indicating the entire drama was scripted in Delhi. This is complete abandonment of values for which the Dravidian movement stood for.
The BJP is desperately trying to grab some space in Tamil politics that hitherto remained a difficult terrain for the saffron politics. The saffron brigade now wants to ride piggyback on the trojan horse called AIADMK. It is cynical that a state that always stood against Center’s unitary policies has become vulnerable to the manipulations by the regime in New Delhi. The Tamil pride was mortgaged to serve the parochial interests of a few corrupt politicians.
However, the political manipulation cannot always ensure stability of government. The AIADMK government, despite the two factions coming together, is desperately dependent on the support of legislators loyal to Sasikala-TTV Dhinakaran.
Dhinakaran is already flexing his muscles for an all-out war that makes Tamil politics much more chaotic.
The AIADMK may join the NDA. But, this is nothing new for the people of Tamil Nadu. The two Dravidian parties are known to vacillate between competing coalitions at the Center to suit their political purpose in the state. But, how the Tamil people who resisted even a slightest provocation to impose Center’s priorities will react to the BJP indulgence in the affairs of AIADMK is something to keenly watch for.
The AIADMK riddled with rampant corruption is fast losing public support giving a clear edge to the opposition DMK. But, the possible entry of Rajinikanth can prove to be a turning point in the politics of Tamil Nadu characterised by the absence of iconic leaders on both the sides caused by the demise of Jayalalitha and the advancing age of Karunanidhi. Though BJP invested so much in the merger of AIADMK to reap dividends in 2019, the outcome largely depends on people’s perception of AIADMK politics and governance.
The political machinations like the merger will not absolve the AIADMK regime of its misdeeds. Instead, this new power sharing arrangement between the two warring camps has a potential to trigger more internal bickering as the faction loyalties would continue.
The merger is projected as an endeavour to protect the legacy of Jayalalithaa. But, anyone who knew something about Tamil politics will state that an indomitable leader like Jayalalithaa was never prone to such manipulations and machinations.
Meanwhile, the DMK seems to be more united than the ruling AIADMK. The party is waiting in wings to capitalise on the anti-incumbency faced by the AIADMk regime. The Tamil polity is thus pregnant with possibilities and many more maneuvers.