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Post Jaya era- What next?
The debate has already started- what next post Jayalalithaa's era. Everybody is conceding the fact that at present there is huge void in Tamil Nadu politics. With the demise of Jayalalithaa and considering Karunanidhi's old age (he's around 90 years old and hospitalised too) many are also of the opinion that this might be the beginning of end of the Dravidian politics.

This is based on the assumptions that there is no single leader in AIADMK who can hold the party, comprising members from different warring groups (read communities), united. In DMK also, there is family feud which has raised question mark on the future of Tamil Nadu's grand old party.

There are many who are saying that this is an opportune time for national parties to enter into Tamil Nadu polity. Congress, which was reduced to an insignificant player (having vote percentage between 6.47% in the last assembly elections) from once dominating party, may have an advantage as it has some of its cadre in the state.

On the other hand, some are hopeful that BJP can finally make inroads into the state (2.86% votes in 2016 assembly elections) because of Narendra Modi, who is considered as third popular leader in Tamil Nadu polity after Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. The below is my analysis on post Jayalalithaa era in Tamil Nadu polity.

I don't believe that there could be end of Dravidian politics because of demise of its tall leaders. Point to be noted is that, Dravidian politics does not depend upon the cult personality of Dravidian leaders/politicians. The reverse is true. Dravidian politics generated politicians with cult personalities. Be it CN Annadurai, MGR, Karunanidhi or Jayalalithaa - they are all products of Dravidian politics. Their cult personalities depend upon Dravidian politics and not the other way round.

Post MGR's demise, there was a huge void. His wife took the reins of AIADMK and Jayalalithaa was thrown out of the party. But Jayalalithaa fought back and then succeeded to be the supreme leader of the party. I am not interested in discussing how and why Jayalalithaa succeeded. Many say that MGR didn't declare his heir and Jayalalithaa followed the same. But then such parties never depend on who is heir rather they depend upon who has capacity to lead.

O Paneerselvam was given the CM's chair on two previous occasions because Jayalalithaa trusted him. Similarly, in party matters, Jaya's close aide Sasikala has dominated. Thus it's time to see who succeeds to be the ultimate leader of the AIADMK. You can't just write off OPS or Sasikala or anybody else in the party just because everyone was under the shadow of huge personality of Jayalalithaa.

Further, OPS and Sasikala would have ample time to prove their mantle because of typical situation in Tamil Nadu assembly. There is four and a half years left for the next assembly elections and I don't think party can be disintegrated for around two years from now as no one would be interested in elections that too against the emotional wave in Jayalalithaa's favour that will surely benefit Panneerselvam.

Similarly, in DMK, there could be family feud, but for the last one year including the period of assembly polls, M.K. Stalin has established himself as a true heir. Now, it depends upon him how he could lead DMK. But even if the DMK or AIADMK fails, there are more than ten other parties doing Dravidian politics and they can come to claim stakes over the Tamil Nadu polity.

Dravidian politics began with a separatist ideology (to secede from India) and but it started integrating with India during the last few decades. Thus the Tamil Nadu polity has much more stakes in the Indian polity especially when Tamil Nadu is an advanced state with industries and education hubs.

I don't think the Congress, particularly under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, can do any progress in TN polity. Tamil Nadu people want strong regional leader and by principle the Congress doesn't allow any mass leader to rise. Thus I don't think the Congress has any future in the TN polity except piggy backing with regional parties.

I don't see any success for the BJP for the same reason i.e. absence of a strong regional leader. Their success in Karnataka is mostly due to B.S. Yeddyurappa, a strong Kannada leader of BJP. Thus if the BJP thinks that the gates of Tamil Nadu polity is opened for them, then I will advise them to stop daydreaming.

But then there is a slim ray of hope for the BJP. Tamil superstar Rajnikanth is an admirer of Narendra Modi and in the past he had said that he is open to join politics. But I don't see it happening immediately. Maybe after a year or so such things may happen provided O Panneerselvam, Sasikala and MK Stalin fails to make themselves a cult personality in Dravidian politics. But even if Rajnikanth joins BJP, he has to be a stakeholder in the Dravidian politics and will need to maintain a delicate balance between the BJP's ideology and tenets of Dravidian politics.

But for the moment OPS, Stalin and Sasikala will fight for the supremacy in the Tamil Nadu politics.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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