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No regrets, says Amma

In the coming days, Jaya could possibly reflect on her mismanaged poll campaign, writes GC Shekhar.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 17:14 IST
GC Shekhar

"I step down from the Chief Minister’s chair without the slightest tinge of sadness. In fact, I take with me a sense of satisfaction of having accomplished so much for Tamil Nadu.” That's how Jayalalithaa wound up her second term in office on Thursday.

These words reflected a much-mellowed Jayalalithaa who had refused to comprehend or accept defeat in 1996 after a disastrous first five years in power. After the 2004 Lok Sabha rout, Jayalalithaa held it together by rolling back unpopular decisions and winning praise for her tsunami and flood management.

In the coming days, she could possibly reflect on her mismanaged poll campaign when she had refused to share the dais with her allies — she had insisted on campaigning from her van.

Plus, she responded to the DMK's freebies with her own set of free offers after having debunked the DMK manifesto.

For instance, her ally Vaiko, who carped at the DMK's cheap rice scheme, had to eat crow when Jayalalithaa suddenly announced her free rice scheme without consulting any of her allies. It's time Amma realised that winning allies does not end with seat-sharing, but that she has to take them along right through till election day.

With 60 seats, the AIADMK has emerged as the opposition party with the largest number of seats in the state's history and can make its presence felt, provided there is more debate and less muscle flexing. The Puratchi Thalaivi would be expected to lead from the front as opposition leader after having criticised Karunanidhi for staying away from the previous house.

Since Karunanidhi has promised that there would be no political vendetta, the slew of corruption cases she faced after 1996 may not be repeated.

But still, her political future may be decided by the two disproportionate wealth cases pending before a special court in Bangalore. The DMK is bound to pursue them vigorously since it may find it easier to neutralise Jayalalithaa legally than politically.