In Tamil Nadu, friends turn foes, foes turn friends

September 4th, 2008 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 4 (IANS) The number of critics of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and his DMK party is slowly increasing.And this is making at least a section of the opposition feel that it is close to destabilising the Congress-backed Karunanidhi regime. That may be a little far-fetched.

A key development has been Jayalalitha’s public condemnation of the attacks on the violence targeted at Christian homes and churches following the murder of a Hindu leader in Orissa.

From a staunch supporter of causes dear to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Jayalalitha’s slamming of the violence for which Hindu groups have been widely blamed has caused quite a stir.

The Communist Party of India’s state secretary felt that the statement could have far- reaching consequences.

“The AIADMK leader’s critique of Hindu fundamentalist forces is certainly a welcome sign. It could possibly change political equations here,” D. Pandian told IANS.

“The former chief minister is the only non-Left regional leader in the country to criticise the brutal attacks in Orissa. It is an eye opener,” he felt.

The MDMK of Vaiko also feels that the political situation in Tamil Nadu is very fluid.

“Jayalaitha’s statement will galvanise the opposition,” MDMK spokesman K.S. Radhakrishnan told IANS. “With just 95 legislators in the (235-member Tamil Nadu) assembly, the DMK depends on 35 Congress MLAS for survival.”

After jettisoning the PMK in June, the DMK did a ditto to the Left, resulting in the regime’s opponents rising from 66 two months ago in the assembly to the present 100, comprising legislators of the AIADMK, PMK, the Left, MDMK and a Dalit dissident.

Naturally worried, Karunanidhi has invited PMK founder leader S. Ramadoss to return to the ruling DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA).

Ramadoss has rejected the overture, saying his party’s alliances will be decided only after the announcement of parliamentary elections.

On Saturday, he followed it up by criticising the DMK government on several fronts, triggering a stinging response from Karunanidhi.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist feels these are signs indicating a bright future for the Left in the sprawling state, which borders the Marxist-ruled Kerala.

CPI-M Rajya Sabha MP T.K. Rengarajan felt that Karunanidhi was needlessly alienating like-minded political parties.

“Our principled stand against this regime’s miserable human rights record, its anti-labour policies of turning workers’ so-called golden handshakes into no-good copper goodbyes, and turning the state into a non-performing asset due to its mishandling of the power situation is inevitable despite the chief minister calling himself an occasional communist,” Rengarajan said.

A senior DMK leader dismissed these developments.

“(The) government is unassailable. The opposition’s dream of destabilising our regime will soon turn into their worst nightmare,” said Law and Public Works Minister Durai Murugan.

Political commentator Cho S. Ramaswamy thinks otherwise.

“Weakened after the exit of PMK and the Left, Karunanidhi will have to accommodate the Congress into his cabinet before long for his own good,” Ramaswamy said.

The Left is divided on the future.

“Though Karunanidhi chased away the PMK and antagonised us unnecessarily, our future action will depend on public opinion. However, the formation of a third front here or elsewhere seems farfetched,” Pandian pointed out.

Added Radhakrishnan: “The DMK government’s position is critical. The power shortfall and other major issues have made it terribly unpopular. The CM (chief minister) will destroy his own government.”

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