To survive and flourish, politicians need enemies - real or imagined. If we have the Thackeray family waving the flag of jingoism in the western part of the country, in the south, we have the lady in a cape, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa who hates everything that has any connection with Sri Lanka because of the country's history of repression of its Tamil population. Recently, she sent back a group of young footballers from the Royal College of Colombo who were in Chennai to play a match against the Tamil Nadu customs department.
The mercurial CM even directed the chief secretary of the state to suspend an official at the Nehru Stadium for allowing the match and also asked him to initiate a department-level proceeding against the officer. After the CM sent the footballers packing, she attacked the central government for allowing the Lankan team to land and not listening to her long-standing demand of imposing sanctions on Lanka until the Tamils in the camps are rehabilitated on par with the majority Sinhalese. Even as Jayalalithaa was sweeping the country clean of her 'enemies', in Maharashtra MNS chief Raj Thackeray stirred the pot once again with an irresponsible comment on the Bihar government and Biharis. "If the Bihar government tries to become a hurdle in the way of a police investigation [into the Azad Maidan violence], then my party would dub every Bihari in Maharashtra as an infiltrator and would force them to leave the state," Thackeray thundered on August 31, which he now denies.
Every politician wants to keep their flock happy with these kinds of acts and comments, no matter how irresponsible they are. But they can be selective too. For example, did we ever hear Jayalalithaa speaking out against the Chennai Super Kings when top Lankan spinner Muttaiah Muralitharan played for the team a couple of years ago?