A feeble scenario
There is lingering concern over the sharp turn of events in the political environment of Tamil Nadu
Once, Tamil Nadu was known for its path-breaking approaches and perspectives in politics as well as development schemes in governance. It had been a model for many other states in India, be it politics, governance, or administration, Tamil Nadu politicians had shown their unique leadership qualities. Though our leaders were heading the regional politics, they had a national vision and they played a national role in all the domains. In such a way they had exhibited their leadership and their supremacy in shaping power and politics at the national level. Now, the political scenario has become comical. People literally watch political events, not just the activities of ministers but opposition parties as well, like comedy movies. It has become a painful sight for many benevolent and conscious citizens. It is a land of eminent personalities like Rajaji, Kamaraj, Subramanya Bharati, and E.V.Ramasamy Periyar. People are wondering how Tamil Nadu politics has is at its nadir. Never, have we seen such political comedies in Tamil Nadu politics. People of Tamil Nadu have come to the conclusion that somebody is behind the whole political tamasha. The questions hovering in people's head are: where is the central authority? Where is the Judiciary? In a democracy, who wins the election is immaterial but how institutions are being treated is a matter of concern. Ultimately people rely on the Judiciary. The AIADMK cadres are in deep distress and they are not examining the party leaders of today but their anger lies on the people and forces behind the dismantling of the party into different factions. After the demise of K. Kamaraj, Congress forces had been decimated. The whole narrative had been shifted from Congress versus DMK to DMK versus AIADMK. The present trends indicate a new binary is going to emerge. But forces are aiming to thwart the emerging binary politics and pave way for coalition politics in Tamil Nadu. It is a pity that everyone expects something will happen only through Judiciary since all the opposition parties have failed in their duty of mobilising the people to achieve fairness in politics, governance, and administration.
Tamil Nadu is observing a boiling point as people witness raids after raids in the premises of the Secretariat, Chief Secretary Room, Police Commissioner Office, Minister's houses, offices, business units, politician's houses, and TV channels. The unearthing of valuable temple statues from the residences of the industrialists. The Governor of Tamil Nadu openly expressed that he heard stories of money transactions in the appointment of Vice-Chancellors in the universities in Tamil Nadu. The sand mafia continues to steal sand from the riverbed areas. Cauvery water does not reach the tail end of the delta region for forming activities. Protests of people in many places against the decision of the government to take the natural resources from the subsoil. Dharnas have been organised against many polluting industries even without the support of the political parties. A central minister hailing from Tamil Nadu repeatedly attacked the government about the failure on law and order and corrupt practices of the Dravidian parties. Even the president of BJP made a scathing attack that Tamil Nadu is one of the most corrupt states in India. Above all, it is true that Tamil Nadu is the worst affected state in exploiting the natural resources in the name of growth and development. Ecology and environment have become fragile.
All opposition parties are attacking the government and making allegations against the ruling party. Yet nothing could be done to change the course as they are not united. Everyone says it is a weak government but nothing could be done to remove it. Why does a weak government continue? The reason is very simple. The opposition parties are not united to remove the government and the political parties are not ready to launch any kind of agitation against the government. Now, it is a fact that the political parties are becoming paper tigers, giving press statements every day and organising protest meetings for one or two hour(s). It is an underlying point that no political party is willing to organise political agitation by mobilising the people as cadres are not ready to go to such levels fearing imprisonment. It really indicates the weak position of the parties and their leaders. One exception is the left. The political parties have not identified the new trend in politics. The youth in Tamil Nadu is silently watching and communicating with each other through social media about the plight of the Tamil Nadu. Discounting the manipulated social media conversation, the general point emerging out is the setting up of a new development agenda and a new course of politics negating the client-pattern model politics perpetuated over a period of four decades by the two Dravidian parties. Tamil Nadu is the worst affected state due to the process of economic globalisation which enabled the politicians to make huge wealth to commercialise politics and the electoral process. The present-day politics and the politicians do not have the capacity to tackle the problems systematically through evolving alternative politics, governance, and development. In this context, there's space in Tamil Nadu politics for the emergence of a new leader with a new approach to politics, governance, and development.
(The author is Professor and Rajiv Gandhi Chair for Panchayati Raj Studies, Gandhigram Rural Institute. The views expressed are strictly personal)