It is sad to see the depths to which Tamil Nadu has sunk politically after the sudden demise of J Jayalalithaa. Tamil Nadu was one of the better governed states with great stability, rule of law and promising economic development. Today it is in a shambles. With skeletons tumbling out of the two AIADMK factions led by Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, and claims and counter-claims over her properties by her niece and her spouse, the atmosphere has got badly vitiated.
Exposes have been done by the media which point fingers at both the ruling Palaniswami group and the beleaguered Panneerselvam group. It is not our case that Jayalalithaa was clean. Far from it. The basically insecure Jayalalithaa and her closest associate Sasikala were by all accounts deeply enmeshed in corrupt deals. But the government was run fairly efficiently and there was a sense of scare in perpetrating wrongs among her ministers and cronies.
Today, there is no sense of scare. Palaniswami is weak and ineffective and he is mortally scared of being upstaged by Panneerselvam. Bureaucrats are left to their own whims. The Centre often flexes its muscles and the State government swallows its pride. The DMK, which used to be petrified of Jayalalithaa is unfettered. Its leader, M.K. Stalin dares the government time and again. The people at large are resigned to the mediocrity that surrounds them and are well aware that the battle of the ballot is a long way off. They don’t see a potential messiah in Stalin and equally so in Palaniswami.
Popular actor Rajnikanth has ever so often raised expectations that he is jumping into the political fray but every time he belied hopes of his fans. In any case, there is no guarantee that a good Samaritan on the screen would be a good political leader too. If, in the circumstances, there is a sense of being cheated and of disillusionment in general with politicians of all hues, the people can hardly be blamed.