14 June, 2024


 Annamalai & His ‘Year-Long March’ – What For?

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

Over a century ago Lenin posed a rhetorical question; “what are elections?”. He himself gave a cynical or realistic description. “You march to the polls once in five years, to decide by whom you shall be exploited”. Answers befit the level of political maturity a society has reached. My discussion now is on India but particularized to Tamil Nadu. The state and her voter strength of 65 million can think of nothing but victory at the Lok Sabha elections of April 2024. The leader facing the challenge is the State President of BJP, Tamil Nadu K. Annamalai. How he is setting about it is examined here. Experience and lessons therefrom are the clear mentors.

Gandhi Immediately on his arrival in India in January 1915, met Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the personage acknowledged by India as the leader of the independence struggle. Gandhi shared his thoughts about India’s freedom and the role he intended playing. Gokhale told him that for a fair length of time he had been out of India in UK and South Africa. This necessitated quite an extensive travel for him to study the land and her people. Gandhi saw merit in the advice.

Jawaharlal Nehru the rationalist, did not fully appreciate “having one’s feet crushed” by being with the masses and to understand them. However he had a consonance in mind with Gandhi. The merit therein was seen even by Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary leader. He had written about the value of getting jostled in crowds and “smelling their hot breath” for understanding them their mood and fervour. Apparently Annamalai is a keen percipient of these values.

This writer sees a leader’s quality principally in his intellectuality. To Annamalai, the three essentials are “theorize, organize, lead”. Quite judiciously, he had imbibed them early in life when he discovered that he could speak. In the three years I had observed him, he is changing by the day from a speaker into an orator. An American thinker had said, the secret of successful oratory lies in the speaker’s sincerity. The efficacy of it, he has felt in the wrath and venom the educated youth display against the opponents of the government. More so in the youth who in large numbers are ready for combat at the forthcoming election. Nehru once said “Youth is the embodiment of revolt and revolt is the very quintessence of youth”. When a long march extends for an year till April 2024, the voter catchment will inevitably shift to the BJP. The stirrings are already evident. 

Once you decide to hit an adversary, hit him on the solar plexus said Tagore. From arrangements being made by Annamalai and the BJP in the last three months the strategy is clear. What is most vulnerable should be picked up for demolition as the first target of attack. Among the best known cancerous afflictions of the Tamil Nadu Government, the first selection is Corruption, the second one is Corruption and the third again is Corruption. The DMK dispensation with less than two years in office has already earned the disgust of the voters with its repugnant record of dishonesty. In the Erode East bye election which is currently on, DMK is taking Corruption to the very depths. It is total, pervasive and complete. This is why Annamalai directs all his darts at this canker. The architect of the State’s ruin, the sole enemy is Stalin.

No proof is needed for a story that is deemed axiomatic. Yet credibility of those who levelled charges against the DMK in earlier times was questioned because the lady CM, of AIADMK herself was thoroughly tarnished. When the pot called the kettle black, there was no chance for the accuser to wean support away from the accused. Charges traded for nearly half a century by both parties ended up purposelessly. They were believed by nobody. In contradistinction is the unimpeachable record of Annamalai, enjoying the fruits of patent honesty. For almost a decade his IPS record is still an open book. Three years of his political foray conceals nothing.

If the above contention holds credence with the vast majority of Tamil Nadu citizens, what is the difference in 2023 and 2024? Firstly, it is the BJP that is seeking a third term on the strength of two dazzling terms. The benefits of consecutive incumbency have percolated to the far-flung multitude. The vast space  of growth is attestation to the tireless striving of Modi and his lieutenants. The two consecutive terms of success and solid achievement have pushed India to the world’s foremost place in economic growth. The nine-year span getting on to the tenth year is inspirational to the 1.4 billion polity of India.

Modi government has collected many accolades in the last two terms. Success in agriculture is marked by continuing surplus. Petroleum prices have been maintained by the central government without any increase for 9 months. Thousands of kilometres of highways connecting the country are a tribute to the technocracy and the bureaucracy. Fulsome praise has gone to the Minister Nitin Gadkari. Performance in the railway sector and to the delivery of an incredible number of Vandhe Bharath rapid rail transport is a tribute to Ashwin Vaishnaw the incumbent minister as well as to his predecessor Piyush Goyal. 

The country continues to pay its praise to the multitude of graduates from all the IITs. No one will fail to be grateful to Jawaharlal Nehru for his foresight and action. Next year’s budget already passed by parliament, is acclaimed as the best in recent times, much to the credit of the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaraman. It is really impossible to list out all achievements. What is attempted is the more visible ones which have caught the eye of most in the last nine years of BJP tenure. The people stand beholden to Modi leadership and Amit Shah’s steadfast support. 

When we look at the catalogue of success in international affairs in the Modi era, one can only admire the great contribution that the External Affairs Minister Hon. Jayshankar has made. The nation took four decades to make him at his prime the chief executive of that high office. The most arduous duties he performs is a great boon to the Prime Minister. In no less measure are the great responsibilities handled with eminence by Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh. “Make in India” policy and programme initiated in Tamil Nadu and UP by Nirmala Sitaraman with great devotion and ably continued by Rajnath Singh bespeaks the nation’s capacity to meet massive challenges.

The unanimous selection of Modi to chair G 20 for the current term, couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. Modi and India have taken optimal advantage of it.

Just a sprinkling is cited above for India to be judged by its best fruits. How much of talent with adequate credentials are being seen now to be chosen in 2024 for Lok Sabha? If this is the picture for India, is the story any different For Tamil Nadu? Yes. It is a contrast in degree!  

For two decades from i947 to 1967, there was a linear continuation of ability and commitment from Rajaji to Kamaraj and Subramaniam. Greatly supported by the IAS, competence and financial integrity were taken for granted. In the seventies and to date, swindling of the state coffers has become commonplace. Placement at second position in the country is not the fate of a state of 80 million. Not even “primus inter pares” (first among equals) is her place. With a single change of governance personnel and the tenor of administration; to be just primus, without pares is what the state and her people are aspiring for. Annamalai’s stewardship in the state and Modi’s leadership of the nation are sure to accomplish it in 8 years or less.

If this be the lode star beckoning Annamalai to bright fortunes, where does he start? He has already begun and months are past. Tamil New Year in April 2023 is the day of destiny as already announced. It will also be Deepavali – not a day of celebration – but a day for destruction of evil, a synonym for DMK. What is this evil composed of? When the assailant is sharpening the spear, we have only to wait for a few weeks more. Leaks say, it has snowballed into Rs. 2.5 trillion or more in half a century! What is the cutting edge the accuser in chief has? His unquestioned integrity at state level reaching up to national echelons. He is assisted by several hundreds of studious colleagues, owing their allegiance to the party, who will tear the fake political personalities of the DMK to shreds. So, much is awaited to see the fall of the political formation existing well beyond its span of welcome. 

The state leader of the BJP has publicly outlined his plan of demolition of the principal enemy in Tamil Nadu. Comprehensively investigated political personalities who held sway since 1967 and whose records are besmirched will have their names exposed. The names will be exhibited on walls state wide. For once a shaming process will be set in motion. Extra territorial investments outside India, even in ports in foreign countries will be brought to light. Altruistic declarations of closing down liquor shops in the state blatantly violated by party high ups in the current 22 month rule of the DMK will be exposed. The above few are not even the crest of the iceberg. May it be known that the year-long campaign will be sustained till the end of Lok Sabha elections in May 2024. By then the culprits will not have a leg to stand on. Unprecedented changes are envisioned by the more optimistic.

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Latest comments

  • 8

    Sivathasan, I only have few questions for you 1) You mean to say there is no corruption in the center ?? 2) You listed the merits of BJP govt and told about the corruption in TN. Why did you avoid the growth and development in TN 3) Why did BJP government try suppressing media from publishing Adani news and critical documentary on Modi by BBC ?? Fortunately SC decided otherwise that they have no reasons to do that 4 ) what do you think about the survival of current Karnataka BJP government in coming state election. ??

  • 2

    One has to pity Mr. Sivathasan. Tamil people, to be blunt, Ceylon Tamil people issues are with our their brethren Sinhalese and not with anyone outside Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Even Prabhakaran was specific about it and hence was the desire to be independent of Indian hegemony. Modern Indian leadership is rather unfortunately is terribly ignorant of the Ceylon Tamil society. Incidentally, Mr. Annamalai who as an unelected person has no right to be in Jaffna for the openings in Jaffna.

    Mr. Sivathasan, it may be that you are a Saivite, hence a Hindu, and hence your affinity to BJP, a Hindutva Party. However, this will be as dangerous as Rajapakses mortgaging the Buddhist Sinhalese to China, though their connections, religious and otherwise, have been with India.

    As a freshman from Oxford, Mr. SWRD Bandaranayke, was making statement in 1962 in Jaffna that independent Ceylon should be a federal state. But he changed his colour within the next decade with the intention to grab power.

    Please get this straight: Ceylon Tamil society is an ancient one with its own social construct including the legal system. We are divided by a common language with them in India, but linked by literature and classical culture. Our value system is more in common with our Sinhala brethren than with anyone else.

    • 2

      re above, Mr. SWRD Bandaranayke, was making statement in 1962… … the year should be 1926. Regret the typo.

  • 4

    Fairmindedone, thanks for a matured thoughtful response. Can’t say any better. Initially Lankan Tamils were expecting India to find all solutions and when that did’t happen, it became TN, then ruling parties (AIDMK,DMK) then individuals ( Jeya, Karuna), and now it’s Annamalai. For that he need to prove his mettle in TN first, before Lankan Tamils can expect anything from him. Prior to him, there was Radhakrishnan with years of political experience , Raja, nothing to show except foul mouth (akin to Wimal .W), Tamil Issai a doctor by profession, many eventually got promoted as Governors (like diplomatic position offered in Lanka). Anyway, there is good news for Sivathasan. In an unexpected move all the opposition leaders got together on one stage to attend Stalin’s B’Day function. Except Mammata, everyone else was in attendance including Congress, Pranayi (Kerala), Abdulla (J & K), Akilesh (UP), Lallu’s party(Bihar), ……………… with the expectations of forming a common opposition, to counter BJP , in next elections.

    • 3

      Sorry more good news to add. BJP lost to Congress Ilangovan in most anticipated Erode by election.

      • 1

        Sivathasan, today’s news. Karnataka BJP MLA’s son arrested for accepting 40 Lakh bribe. Following which Lokayukta anti corruption watch dog officials recovered INR 6 Crore from BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa’s house. Another 1.7 Crore was recovered from MLA’s son’s house, who was caught red-handed.

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