Mithai and Halwa: How AIADMK, DMK are turning Dravidian political discourse
Mithai and Halwa, rather than ideology, seem to be the flavour of the political discourse in the high-decibel campaign for the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu.
The two Dravidian majors – the ruling AIADMK and the principal opposition DMK — never miss out an opportunity to have a go at the other. While the AIADMK is employing mithai to target the DMK, the latter is using halwa to attack the other.
With the campaign in full swing for the August 5 poll, the AIADMK has made it a prestige battle.
Election to the Vellore seat was rescinded and polling was held only for 38 of the total 39 LS seats on April 18. And, of the 38, the DMK and its allies won 37, while the AIADMK-led NDA managed to win only a lone seat, Theni.
The AIADMK, which was routed in the general poll, has alleged that the DMK hoodwinked the electorate with false promises, much like kids are cheated with mithai.
“The victory of the DMK in the Lok Sabha elections is not a real victory. DMK president MK Stalin has won the electoral battle by deceiving the electorate with false promises. It is like a con man cheating children with ‘mithai’ covered in colourful foil. The DMK made promises which it could not fulfil and emerged victorious,” E Palaniswami said and asked the crowd whether this could be taken as victory at all. The Chief Minister was addressing a campaign rally at Ambur, in the constituency.
Listing the poll promises — including waiver of jewel loans of agriculturists, farm loans and educational loans — EPS charged the principal opposition of not playing by the rules of the game.
“The DMK could not win Vellore by making similar false promises. We do not know what more promises he would make this time. But, Stalin’s trick would not help the party in this election,” EPS said.
Countering the Chief Minister, Stalin asked whether the AIADMK had won the Theni seat, the only constituency which the party managed to retain, by giving halwa to the voters.
Then sharpening his attack, Stalin asked: “Is the halwa from Tirunelveli or Delhi?” The DMK leader was campaigning at KV Kuppam.
While Tirunelveli, in Tamil Nadu, is famous for halwa, the DMK president was pointing to Delhi’s hand in it.
Responding to the Chief Minister’s charge of making promises that the DMK could not implement, Stalin asserted that that all of them would be carried out once the party returns to power.
“We will implement all the promises that have been made. We are confident of it. The AIADMK government is in a coma, battling for survival. The DMK is confident of returning to power and will not go back on its words,” he said.
Though the Chief Minister has first used the mithai analogy a fortnight earlier in the assembly with Stalin refuting it with halwa, it is on full flow in the Vellore campaign.
According to analyst K Elangovan, the Dravidian majors resorting to barbs such as mithai and halwa betray ideological bankruptcy in their political discourse.
“We are witnessing a new low in the political discourse of the Dravidian parties which have lost their ideological moorings. The leadership as well the party is at a loss to present a political idiom of what they stand for. Even those who think that the DMK is still wedded to the ideas of the Dravidian movement, have to have a rethink,” he said.