Politicians… we love to hate them! While most of us don’t take well to criticisms, their every move is judged as to whether they are being genuine or if they are just playing politics….. And still, it brings about a great amount of sadness when in less than 2 years, two of the most dominant leaders, who have together contributed in building 60 odd years of Tamil Nadu politics, are no more!!……
Fondly called Amma (Mother), formerly an actress, served 6 terms as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Initially an actress, her story is not very different from that of Queen Elizabeth the 1st, where she tried to de-glamourise herself and constantly reminded her supporters of her ambitions to make her mentor MGR’s dream come true….
Fondly called Ayya (Father), a screenplay writer who was a powerful orator, served 5 terms as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Born in a small town, he soon became a screenplay writer for Tamil movies and used them as a medium to propagate his ideologies and views. While his strongly opinionated scripts got him in trouble from time to time, it propelled him into being a popular political leader.
There was a time when we used to debate Jayalalithaa or Karunanidhi. Tamil Nadu politics was fierce, vibrant and full of drama. I am sure George R. R. Martin, who wrote Game of Thrones must have got some inspiration from seeing these two go off at each other. There were rumours of affairs, scandals, internal power struggles, the splitting of parties, corruption charges, just to name a few….. We would get irritated with them… aaaah! Not again. Why can’t they stop going off at each other? Very annoying!
For this reason, perhaps they never managed to win 2 consecutive elections, and you always had this situation where the position of Chief Minister would keep alternating between them. Until 2015…… When Jayalalithaa won the election second time in a row, there were talks about how it was a bad omen and that never in the history of Tamil Nadu had anybody completed 2 consecutive terms…….
There was a time when their massive hoardings were all over the place in a city where hoardings were banned! Oh and let’s not forget the electricity they wasted lining up the road dividers with lights. Today there’s a deafening silence, with the political future looking dark. There are still those hoardings but with not so familiar faces and political parties with no clarity.
There are new players like Kamal Haasan with a lot of potential but will they be able to compete against more experienced politicians like Stalin, Panneerselvam etc. Will their experience show through or will they be busy with the infighting? Who will be the people left standing once the dirt settles down? Only time will tell. Till then there is a huge vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics.
We have gone from asking who will be our next CM to today asking the question who is there?