Diwali-like celebrations, with bursting of crackers and dancing to folk beats, in different cities across the state on Wednesday showed how canny and politically savvy AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa is.
Besides the common man, all the Tamil parties —including his archrival DMK — fell over each other to support her decision to free all the seven convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Even the state BJP welcomed the decision.
Only the Congress kept mum.
Read: Jayalalithaa’s mercy politics gives Rajiv killers their freedom
Jayalalithaa’s step is being seen as a smart political move that may give a huge boost to pro-Tamil sentiments. While the AIADMK gained in stature overnight, the DMK looked stunned for a while.
Later, DMK chief M Karunanidhi hoped that the Centre would sanction the release without any delay. He said the DMK was against capital punishment.
Another pro-Tamil politico, MDMK chief Vaiko, profusely eulogised Amma.
Rajiv killing: Commutation of sentence must not be politicised
He told the media minutes after television channels started beaming the news on Wednesday morning: “Jayalalithaa took an extremely bold step for which I thank her from the bottom of my heart.”
The reaction of the people, especially to the release of Perarivalan, the only Tamil among the killers, also indicated that Jayalalithaa’s surprise move may hit the target — the ballot box.
Read: If a PM's killers can be freed, what justice can common man expect, says Rahul Gandhi
Only, the Congress party leaders were tongue-tied.
Congress leader A Gopanna said that Jayalalithaa had come to power in 1991, benefiting from the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. “Now she has herself buried his memory.”
A political science professor, who didn’t wish to be identified, said, “Jayalalithaa’s move is a masterstroke. If she gets anything less than 35 of the total 39 seats, it will be a surprise.”
Watch: TN govt to release convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination
Jayalaithaa has been making the right pitch in wooing the Tamils or so it seems.
Be it the Tamil fishermen issue or taking on Sri Lankan belligerence or letting Rajiv Gandhi’s killers go free, amma has been outsmarting herself ‘politically’.
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• Will India abolish death penalty?
• Families of those who died with Rajiv seek answers
• HT Poll finds majority not in favour of Tamil Nadu releasing Rajiv Gandhi's assassins
• Release Rajiv Gandhi assassins, demands Karunanidhi
• Rajiv Gandhi assassin's mother happy at SC verdict
• Govt to abide by SC decision in Rajiv Gandhi case, says Sibal