Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s conviction in the disproportionate assets case may turn out to be a watershed in Dravidian politics.
With Assembly elections just one-and-half years away, the AIADMK has little time to recoup from this huge setback.
Principal opposition DMK, too, is in total disarray with ageing party patriarch M Karunanidhi reportedly battling ill health, daggers drawn between his sons MK Stalin and MK Alagiri and daughter Kanimozhi and other prominent party faces embroiled in alleged scams.
It may be a big opportunity for national parties like the BJP and the Congress to end the five-decade-long dominance of Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu politics — M Bakthavatsalam having been the last Congress chief minister of then Madras province way back in 1967.
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National parties have been playing second fiddle to Dravidian parties since then.
With its support and organisational bases still intact in certain pockets of the state, the Congress has managed to be relevant in state politics often playing the king-maker’s role.
But, the faction-riven party is fast losing its hold with top leaders from the state having gone into a shell after the Lok Sabha elections.
That has opened up a huge opportunity for the BJP, which made its presence felt in the last Lok Sabha elections — securing 5.48% vote share as against 2.34% in 2009 — even though the party contested only nine constituencies.
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Smaller regional parties are also set to play a bigger role in 2016 and with Modi at the helm of affairs in New Delhi, they are likely to stick with the BJP.
Hamstrung by the absence of a mass leader or a popular face in the state, the BJP is reportedly wooing Rajinikanth who has remained disinclined so far.
Immediately after Jayalalithaa’s conviction, the party leadership remained guarded with state in-charge Muralidhar Rao quipping to HT, “It’s too early to say anything.”
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