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New rivalry in Dravidian politics sparks fireworks in Tamil Nadu

A month after the death of Jayalalithaa, a new political rivalry is emerging in Tamil Nadu. At the opposite ends are her successor, Sasikala and DMK’s Stalin who has recently been appointed the party’s working president.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2017 07:14 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
For the present, the two Dravidian rivals, AIADMK’s Sasikala and DMK’s Stalin, have picked up the issue of Jallikattu for immediate attention, given the emotional traction it gains in the state during the harvest festival.(AFP/ V Srinivasulu / Hindustan Times)

Jallikattu or bull taming in Tamil Nadu, recently banned by the Supreme Court has become a catalyst of a new rivalry between the two newly anointed chiefs of the two Dravidian majors –AIADMK and DMK –– VK Sasikala and MK Stalin.

The fireworks have begun with the two Dravidian rivals picking up the issue of Jallikattu for immediate attention, given the emotional traction it gains in the state during the harvest festival. On Tuesday, Stalin alleged that the ban on Jallikattu had come about only due to the failure of the AIADMK government to adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines in 2014.

The DMK, which in its general council meeting on Wednesday elevated Stalin as the working president of the party, resolved to urge the central government to ensure the conduct of Jallikattu during Pongal slated for second week of January. DMK leaders have been blaming the AIADMK for its inability to get the central government to facilitate the conduct of the traditional sport in the state where it used to be a regular feature for several years until the Supreme Court recently banned it.

Read | Jallikattu’s dubious glory: Taking the bull of populism by its horns

“Until the DMK was in power, Jallikattu was properly conducted as per the safety guidelines. The issue started only when the AIADMK came to power in 2011,” Stalin said, adding an Animal Welfare Board of India committee that subsequently conducted an enquiry found that the regulations were flouted. Subsequently a ban was imposed in 2014, Stalin said.

Sasikala was quick to counter Stalin and charged him with making false statements on the issue over which Jayalalithaa fought vigorously. It was Jayalalithaa who filed a review petition on May 19, 2014, he said adding the Congress-led UPA government, an ally of the DMK, brought bulls under the show-display animals list along with tigers and bears and blamed it was for this reason jallikattu was banned, she said.

In his rivalry with Sasikala, Stalin had fired the first salvo a couple of days back when he issued a statement seeking inquiry into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death.

He had also questioned as to how a person holding a constitutional position like that of deputy speaker of Lok Sabha, Thambidurai can ask Sasikala to take over as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Thambidurai is the propaganda secretary of the AIADMK.

The DMK also blames the state government responsible for the spate of suicides by the farmers because of a drought.

On Wedneaday, Stalin led a delegation of farmers to chief minister O Panneerselvam to highlight their plight. A day earlier, the government had promised freebies to drought-affected families that possess ration cards.

Read | Shadow, sister, secretary: The rise of AIADMK’s new interim chief Sasikala

First Published: Jan 05, 2017 09:58 IST