All for Jaya, even Rajni fans
A wily poacher is on the prowl in Tamil Nadu's political jungle, and parties — Left, right and centre — are falling apart. Behind the defections is none other than the master of realpolitik, J Jayalalithaa.
The list of parties who have fallen prey to the "Jaya effect" includes Tamil Nadu Congress, PMK, Forward Bloc and Muslim League. The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) or even the Rajnikanth fan club has not been spared.
With polls round the corner, disaffection levels over the distribution of party tickets are also on the high. And the bait that the Tamil Nadu chief minister inevitably dangles is the promise of Assembly tickets.
In January, she weaned away two sitting PMK MLAs, who quit their Assembly seats to join the AIADMK. Next on the hit-list was the Con- gress. Egged on by the AIADMK, Congress rebel T Ramamurthy floated the Tamil Nadu Indira Congress.
But when Ramamurthy failed to keep his promise of luring 17 more Congress MLAs and 25 district secretaries, Jayalalithaa gave him the cold shoulder. His demand for five Assembly seats was rejected. Now he has been offered a lone seat and that, too, has been left to the AIADMK's discretion.
The Forward Bloc incurred her wrath when they met Karunanidhi first. When the DMK shut its door, they approached the AIADMK. A few days later, the slighted leader had sweet revenge by giving a seat to the Bloc's sitting MLA.
The most interesting split, however, was in the ranks of the INTUC. Jayalalithaa has announced that the state INTUC president Kalan and general secretary Subbiah would get two seats. This is the first time that any party has had an electoral alliance with a trade union.
After political parties, it was turn of the Rajnikanth Fans Association. When the hero sent a circular telling his fans they need not work for any front this time, the AIADMK jumped at the opportunity.
Three district secretaries and the Pondicherry secretary of the fans association have extended support to Amma.