And for a Friday after the demise of a Regional Satrap with an unparalleled National Footprint, Dr. M Karunanidhi….. some thoughts…..
A crusader politician who started in the 1950ies on basis of Anti Hindi; Anti Brahmin; Anti Superstition; Anti North Indian quickly mastered the nuances of Electoral Arithmetic. He used his strengths – Mastery in Tamil literature, Orator par Excellence and as an Imaginative Writer, used Cinema and his script writing as a medium to reach masses. He crafted the grandiose Strategy to put Welfare schemes for carefully chosen sections of Society (One rupee kilo Rice, free TV, Mixers, Cycles and free books ). This became the Template across India followed by all political parties – taxpayers and fiscal responsibility be damned.
A Political deal maker par excellence, 5 times CM, 50 years as Party President and unprecedented 13 times MLA never ever been defeated in State elections from his Constituency. Such were his leadership and negotiating skills. Even when out of Power for 13 years, he kept his flock together by his unmatched oratory and Communication skills. His imprint on Natonal Politics includes how in 1969 he saved Indira Gandhi during Congress split and helped elect V V Giri as President. His Govt was dismissed by the Centre twice but he Bounced back. He was instrumental in getting a Southerner, Dewa Gowda as Prime Minister. He was in NDA with BJP and he was in UPA with Congress where with 15 MPs he had wrested 7 Cabinet Posts.
He became a first time minister in Annadurai cabinet in 1967. He experimented with the Science of Corruption as a PWD Minister and developed it into an Art of Corruption. Unbelievable….. a personality so large with huge following, he ensured his Party was a Family affair. Such was his charisma, control and support of bureaucracy that when he died, there was no case against him – not even a charge sheet. Even in death he won the right from the High Court of TamilNadu to be buried in Marina. Every single political leader from across the country visited Chennai and paid homage to him.
Let us Salute our Democracy, maturing by the day, strengthening federalism, instances of Tamil and Dravidian propagation and sub nationalism along with simultaneous identification with India. All these have further strengthened the idea of India. Let us all contribute to a strong India, the leadership way, the Ethical way, the SEEGOS way.