How many Hindus can boast of receiving priests from Tirumala temple loaded with the famous ‘Tirupati Laddus’? How many Hindus can boast of hearing them chant Vedic hymns right before them and showering their blessings all along? Well, one “Atheist” could say he had the unique opportunity of performing the aforementioned feat. Karunanidhi, the lifelong atheist had such rare honour, when TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) chose to have copyrights for the serial on Ramanujacharya, founder of Vishishtadwaita philosophy. For a person who ridiculed Lord Rama as a mere mortal, Karunanidhi remained an authority on many versions of Ramayana including Valmiki’s original.
After Harikishan Singh Surjit, perhaps Karunanidhi was the one qualified for the tag of ‘the grand old politician’ of India, though his career remained full of twists and turns unlike the quiet monotonous political career of Surjit. Karunanidhi’s political life is similar to his scripts that keep the audience guessing about what he will utter next. Then there is Narendra Modi, who created his own political script with as many twists. A decade ago, even the thought of Modi becoming Prime Minister was ridiculed – by many in BJP itself.
Nowadays, the political situation in Tamilnadu is similar to the situation of Andhra after the death of Rajasekhara Reddy. Congress denied power to Jagan to distance themselves from the corruption charges against him and chose to rule the state through leaders with no credibility thereby plunging the state into chaos. The chaos culminated in the partition of the state and killed chances of Congress retaining and returning to power – for a long time.
Considering the expertise of Modi-Shah duo in turning enemies into friends, Modi visiting Karunanidhi – the ageing patriarch of Dravidian politics has added some froth in the still filter coffee of Tamil Nadu politics.
PM Modi’s overture reeks of his southern ambitions, an area where the BJP still doesn’t have a political ground to set foot on. When BJP is ready to forget the past and sanctify Mukul Roy and Narayan Rane, how can DMK that was a part of Vajpayee’s NDA be kept at a distance? After all, Karunandhi shared stage with the old war horse Advani himself when BJP was a part of the National Front against Rajiv’s Bofors tainted Congress.
However, one crucial link is missing. Murasoli Maran, nephew of Karunanidhi was the link between DMK and BJP in the earlier alliances. The fact that DMK exited within one month after the death of Maran, who was a minister without portfolio in Vajpayee’s cabinet explains the mutual repulsion that both parties hold for each other. They came together for a purpose and got separated once that was served.
One point worth remembering was the political wisdom shown by both DMK and AIADMK to be friends with the centre so the state never received step-motherly treatment. The way AIADMK is messing with itself and the addition of Rajnikant and Kamal Hasan to the long list of regional parties would only enhance existing confusion. Not that both Rajni and Kamal are touted to be game-changers. These stars are capable enough to make an impression in electoral politics on their own. But, if they choose to support any party, the party will stand to gain something – however small the help may be.
Maybe vexed with the prolonged internal conflict of AIADMK, BJP thought of looking at a new partner. In all probability, AIADMK is set to lose power whenever elections are held to the Parliament or to the Assembly. On its own neither BJP nor Congress can hope to win more than one parliament seat or touch double digit mark in assembly elections. But, the support of the party that wins Tamilnadu may become crucial in running the government at the centre. From DMK’s point of view, power is already firmly vested in the hands of Stalin, who is set to be the CM whenever the elections occur. Unlike other leaders of Tamilnadu (including Chidambaram and Subramanian Swamy), Stalin is good at electoral politics. With both Jaya and Karunanidhi are out of electoral politics, next elections would be the first elections Stalin would be fighting and he would try to get all the help he can.
Rajnikant is expected to start a party of his own, but in all probabilities will end up joining ranks with the BJP. Kamal Haasan may partner with DMK.
In such case, if BJP and DMK become alliance partners, the coalition would ensure that the support of both mega stars are utlized optimally. Looks like Stalin does have an idea about Modi ruling India in the next decade and so trying to be in his good books is a fair and intelligent realpolitik decision. If needed, he would be more than willing to sacrifice both Kanimozhi and Raja, both of whom are scam tainted. The fact that Stalin is a ruthless administrator may be considered by BJP in supporting him so the state can get a stable administration.
Considering the personality of Stalin, BJP is safe to bet on him rather than others, for he would not rock the boat as long as he is not threatened. But, BJP may have to halt its Southern Ashwamedh Yagya.
Of course, reading too much into one meeting and trying to guess the story by just watching the trailer isn’t all too wise, but the Game of Politics is based on hypothetical assumptions and probable expectations. But it is fair to say that with just one meeting, PM Modi has placed a lot of pieces together in the Jigsaw Puzzle of Tamil Nadu Politics.