Friday, May 20, 2016

How did AIADMK win?

Jayalalithaa was under a serious handicap. There was no second line leadership even to address political meetings to enthuse the voters. Her mobility was severely affected by her ill-health. Stalin had toured virtually every nook and corner of the state to seek people's support and all his meetings were largely attended. Karunanidhi desperately desired to become chief minister for just one more time. M.K.Alagiri had been effectively silenced so that he could not create domestic trouble for the party. Final word in Jayalalithaa's corruption case was not yet said by the Supreme Court and therefore this was creating a lot of tension for her. Anti-incumbency was looming large.

Despite all these challenges, how did she make it?

She acted smart both tactically and strategically. She released AIADMK's manifesto only after DMK had released its and this ensured that no item of interest to the public was left out. She out-freebied the DMK. She insisted on the same symbol for her allies also. So, the Two Leaves was fluttering everywhere. This certainly was a better tactic than having the Rising Sun in some places and the Hand etc. in other places. There was no diffusion of propaganda for the AIADMK.

Strategically, Jayalalithaa took care of interests of the poor. Amma canteen was deservedly a roaring success in sustaining her popularity. DMK's allegations of corruption did not stick because the pot was calling the kettle black. Cash for votes was a game both parties indulged in. If the DMK cries foul on this score, it is only sour-grapism. However, DMK's and particularly Stalin's relentless campaign deserves appreciation.

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