With a vacuum created in Tamil Nadu’s political scene following the conviction of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in a graft case, opposition parties are smelling an opportunity to strengthen their ranks ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls.
At the forefront is the DMK, whose house the party chief M Karunanidhi is trying to put in order in the wake of intra-party squabbles following the 2011 electoral debacle.
The party has gone through its share of churnings since then, including expulsion of Karunanidhi’s Madurai-based son M K Alagiri from the party following his open outbursts on leadership issues.
Having self-appraised its rout at the 2011 hustings– not even managing to secure the main opposition party status, the DMK sees a glimmer of hope to shore up its prospects with Jayalalithaa’s conviction.
Having spearheaded the disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa, with party senior K Anbazhagan impleading in the case, Karunanidhi believes the conviction of his bete noire has infused fresh energy in DMK.
“At a time when she was trying to finish off this movement (DMK), when all our comrades were tensed (about it), she herself walked into the trap, and it is a fact that she unwittingly helped in giving a push to this movement,” he said.
Karunanidhi’s remarks came at a recent meeting of his party’s district secretaries, where he described Jayalalithaa’s incarceration as her own doing.
He said Jayalalithaa may go for an appeal in the Supreme Court against her conviction, but her aspirations of coming back to power will remain a ‘dream.’
However, the party is still in a Catch-22 situation as the 2G spectrum case, in which Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and junior colleague A Raja are accused, hangs like the proverbial Damocles sword. DMK chief’s wife Dayalu Ammal is a witness in the CBI-probed case.
It is believed that this fact made Karunanidhi tread a cautious path over the Jayalalithaa verdict, as he remained incommunicado over the entire day on September 27 even as his reaction to Jayalalithaa’s conviction, eagerly awaited by political observers, came late.
While AIADMK is perceived to be on friendly terms with BJP at the national level, with Jayalalithaa sharing cordial ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders sing a different tune in Tamil Nadu.