Stalin and Sasikala: New leaders & changing political ideologies in the post-Jayalalithaa era

By: | Updated: January 10, 2017 4:16 PM

AIADMK's Sasikala has not yet been tested as a leader, being Amma's shadow for a long time. While she will look to prove her credentials, DMK's MK Stalin will be making the utmost use of the fuzzy TN scenario.

stalin, sasikala, mk stalin, sasikala natarajan, tamil nadu, jayalalithaa, tn politics, stalin opinion, sasikala opinion, tn politics opinion, post jayalalithaa, aiadmk, dmkAIADMK?s post-Jayalalithaa uncertainty still gives DMK a good chance and political advantage but it will be a narrow window of opportunity. (Source: PTI)

DMK came to power in the year 1967 and it will be the first time that both the party and its branch AIADMK will have faces for whom it is not essential to showcase what their ideological stance is. Currently, politics in India is defined by how the leaders handle local issues instead of presenting a polar view on them. While DMK’s MK Stalin, Karunanidhi’s son and now the working president of the party, takes the mantle, he can go to any lengths to be affable to the voters, even changing ideologies midway; Sasikala does not have any history or legacy to carry as she is only here because of her political associations.

DMK meanwhile, is trying to follow the AIADMK style of leadership which former CM Jayalalithaa was known for. While Karunanidhi held one post in DMK for all the 48 years where he led the party, Stalin accumulated a lot of power to himself. While DMK was earlier known for social justice and regional freedom is now diluted in its ideological stands. There is no theory behind decisions now. After almost five decades in charge of the party in which he was the CM of Tamil Nadu for 6 terms, Karunanidhi does not have the same powers now, as Stalin has taken over. The fight has ebbed out of him now. Notably, the ideologies regarding the Dravidian movement drawn from Periyar E.V. Ramasamy no longer its the focus now. Social transformation, rhetoric and a deep sense of history and culture are no longer the priorities over political change. Stalin has compromised with it and understood that a fluidity in ideologies is his practical way forward. This is very similar to Amma’s way of working.

Stalin has inherited a party which is shaky on so many levels, even though as an organisation it appears solid, yet a lot of relationships have been lost now. The friendships and relationships which defined the movement and the party once is all gone. DMK has suffered electorally as well, after its bad performance in the last Lok Sabha elections and the State Assembly elections in 2016. Since then there have been speculations and doubts on Stalin’s leadership. The party also suffered because of family members Durga and Sabareesh, both highly powerful in DMK, are not its members. But AIADMK’s post-Jayalalithaa uncertainty still gives DMK a good chance and political advantage but it will be a narrow window of opportunity.

While the two Dravidian majors, witness big changes owing to totally varied reasons, but together they indicate that political battles in the state will see a new dynamic and language. AIADMK without Jayalalithaa faces a fierce test. It was only good for the party that it was in power when she died; else local leaders would have been trying unknown tactics, even if Sasikala was there in the party or now. Sasikala has not yet been tested as a leader being Amma’s shadow for a long time. While she will look to prove her credentials, Stalin will be making the utmost use of the fuzzy TN scenario. But most importantly they will have to reimagine the ways to tackle society, rise above corruption and violence, carry the legacy as well as appeal to the citizen of today.

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