Amma’s Isolation

India Today - - MAIL - by Vaas­an­thi Septem­ber 2 8 , 1 998

Jay­alalithaa is not used to be­ing cast in side roles. As the script or­dained this time. The Maru­mal­larchi Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam ( MDMK)’ s mega rally of the week in Chen­nai, mark­ing the 90th birth an­niver­sary of DMK founder C. N. An­nadu­rai, took place with­out the lady from Poes Gar­den. The ab­sence of Jay­alalithaa, who held a par­al­lel rally of the AIADMK at Tiruchi on the same day, in­di­cated a ma­jor fis­sure in the anti- DMK coali­tion that she had as­sid­u­ously built up. With the BJP and the DMK— one Jay­alalithaa’s es­tranged ally, the other a pro­claimed anath­ema— shar­ing the dais at the MDMK rally at Ma­rina Beach, it was a pre­lude to the chang­ing of power equa­tions in a state dom­i­nated by caste pol­i­tics, the echoes of which are sure to travel across the Vind­hyas.

The par­al­lel ral­lies had a re­sound­ing mes­sage to con­vey: There is a vir­tual break in the AIADMK- led Tamil Nadu front that sup­ported Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee’s Govern­ment. The re­mark of the Prime Min­is­ter that “the Chen­nai rally marks a new di­men­sion in Tamil Nadu pol­i­tics” was more than sig­nif­i­cant. It sig­nalled the en­deav­our of the Dra­vid­ian par­ties to be­friend the BJP, which un­til re­cently was seen as a com­mu­nal party run by Hindi zealots.

While Jay­alalithaa sulked, MDMK Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Vaiko cel­e­brated.

CAL­CU­LATED MOVE

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