After the demise of M Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu is in real cross roads. Every tom dick and harry in Kollywood (Tamil cinema industry) think they are intelligent to be the next Chief Minister candidate. They keep tweeting and issuing statements on everything under the sun, especially related to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as if it is a force to deal with in TN. TN is witnessing a big churn.
If people want to know the real strength of parties, the local body polls should be held immediately and all parties should contest independently so as to know the real picture. The Tamil Nadu government is postponing the local body polls as much as possible due to fear of a large scale defeat. The real CM contenders in my personal view are DMK Leader Stalin, current CM Edappadi Palanisamy (EPS), expelled AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran and actor turned politician Rajinikanth.
I’m not considering O Paneerselvam (OPS) as a CM post contender at all, as he himself does not seem to be interested. He is the best example in politics as to how how a potential mass leader commits political suicide by too many compromises. Once upon a time he was immensely popular among public but over a period of time he has inflicted damage to himself beyond redemption.
I don’t consider Kamal Haasan as a contender, since I don’t think he can even cross a 3% vote share in the state.
Stalin if he was shrewd like his father in accommodating allies, he had a fair chance, if at all he was announced as the CM candidate in 2016. The lost opportunity was the last opportunity for him. Even now if he manages to accommodate more people, it is too late for many reasons. Circumstances have changed and his leadership quality is a question mark. He is never known to go by feedback of cadres but always under influence of coterie like A. Raja and his son in law. So he can’t enthuse his own cadres to go all out.
EPS has silently emerged as a decisive leader with leadership skills but unfortunately this is not of much use in the current situation. His handling of law and order has been better, he doesn’t makes noise but silently hits the Anti National forces like Daniel Gandhi and co. Also he made DMK run to court for Marina burial, in process ensured hurdles for J Jayalalithaa’s memorial is removed by silently not appealing in SC against HC verdict. He should have appealed as Marina can’t be converted to mass burial ground. His image had gone up with this . But as a party the merger remains on paper with unease at all levels. They are now not able to fill up posts or enthuse cadres. AIADMK cadres are as demotivated as DMK cadres. It is a more of a fight between castes. AIADMK today is reduced to a party for 2 castes, fighting for internal supremacy.
Rajinikanth should contest the local body polls not to win but to know his real strength. Though one side he gives a picture of a scientific approach to elections by appointing booth agents that alone is not going to work. His advisers are giving him over confidence to contest state elections directly which is a wrong approach. Firstly, he should contest the local body polls, it helps in many ways. Contesting in local polls alone will give accurate picture of where he stands and where he needs to work more on grassroots. It will give hands-on training to his workers for election work and after 2019 LS his workers will be fully equipped to handle assembly elections. Landing them directly on assembly elections will be a double edged sword as it could work either ways. Rajini has 3 major disadvantage – his age, health and family members. Age and health are in his control but his family members image is a huge liability and already one of his daughter is hyper active on twitter issuing statements on behalf of party which doesn’t project a good image.
TTV is the media darling and most talked about politician of TN today. When media was all praise for him, I was rather sceptical. But over a period of time he is proving out to be the dark horse of TN politics. He has a major disadvantage of being branded from Sasikala’s family which he consciously is trying to erase by reaching out as widely as possible. He handles media well, unlike any other TN politician, very articulate and has proven to be a very good organiser by mobilising huge crowds for whichever city he addresses rallies. He has clearly eroded AIADMk base in certain pockets of southern TN and also partially in cauvery delta region. Will not be surprised if he pockets Tiruvarur too. He may not emerge with big number of seats, but bagging 25 seats in a hung assembly, he can establish himself as the king maker. If he had entered AIADMK while J Jayalalithaa was alive, by this time the split would have never come and he would have fully taken control over the party. He is a catalyst for eroding vote base of AIADMK. The biggest advantage he has is that he has lot of years to go in politics which many others lack today. He sas the potential to take over AIADMK post in the next assembly polls, if in case it happens.
There are no other serious contenders for Chief Minister post in my view, Anbumani is directionless in-spite of a focused campaign in 2016. The less said about Congress and BJP the better. Overall as on date there is no clear mass leader and no clear leader who can be termed as a potential Chief Minister candidate for Tamil Nadu
This article is written by @rangats
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SatyaVijayi.