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  India   All India  07 Dec 2016  Will AIADMK flounder with no charismatic leader?

Will AIADMK flounder with no charismatic leader?

THE ASIAN AGE. | N RAVIKUMAR
Published : Dec 7, 2016, 3:00 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2016, 6:36 am IST

MGR’s politics, despite his tendency to mingle freely with party colleagues and people, was described as a one-man show.

Tamil Nadu CM O Pannerselvam with late CM Jayalalithaa
 Tamil Nadu CM O Pannerselvam with late CM Jayalalithaa

CHENNAI: After the demise of former CM J. Jayalalithaa, the party for the first time since its inception finds itself without a charismatic leader who can be relied on for people’s consistent backing.

When matinee idol MGR formed the party in 1972, it was looked down upon as a party that was relying on the popularity of its leader as a film star. Its organisation was perceived to be weaker than the DMK. The AIADMK founder was portrayed as an actor unaware of the Dravidian movement’s ideological moorings and no commitment towards it.

But, the DMK with its ideological rhetoric and organisation built for three decades lost to MGR’s charisma, prompting DMK leader M. Karunanidhi to blame his defeat on ‘cinema maayai’ (an attraction to films). But, MGR’s clout among the masses kept him in power for three consecutive terms, till he died in 1987.

Jayalalithaa took over from where MGR left off, as people identified her as close to MGR through her appearance along with their Puratchi Thalaivar in most of the box office hits. After a brief intra-party feud, the AIADMK bounced back to power.

MGR’s politics, despite his tendency to mingle freely with party colleagues and people, was described as a one-man show. He was described as the numero umo and the leaders as zeros behind the one. It was said any zero which tries to get before number one will have no value. After Jayalalithaa took over the mantle, the entire party was about Amma and nothing else. By projecting her image, the AIADMK was able to come to power for four terms. Political commentator ‘Aazhi’ Senthilnathan said, “Right now the party appears united and disciplined. The Assembly elections are four years away and there is no immediate threat to the government. But, a poor performance by its government could result in rejection by the people and weakening of the outfit.”

Tags: jayalalithaa dead
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)