By S. Sivathasan –
Tamil Nadu, denied a man of intellect and immovable character for so long, has spotted her political leader of choice. Within a brief span, he has reached astronomical heights in his popularity and endearment with the politically conscious. He is a confidante of Prime Minister Modi and a trusted lieutenant of Home Minister Amit Shah. K. Annamalai, who is now an all-India personage is destined to be at the helm of the state’s progress for a quarter century if not more. To the state and her citizens, the day of redemption is shortly at hand; as early as in May 2024. The BJP of Tamil Nadu, will then have a dominant presence in the Lok Sabha.
Of late what has been the sequence of events in Tamil Nadu? Annamalai stepped on to the political platform not with a whimper but with a bang. His growth since then has been exponential. What explains such unflagging speed and unstoppable momentum? Sixties saw the political demise of a stalwart. Vacation of a deliverer, Kamaraj. Annadurai succeeded the Congress and his speeches replete with alliterative prose were an anaemic substitute for rice and curry. When he passed away in 1969, Karunanithi who succeeded him, added rhyme to alliteration and put all to slumber. With the exception of MGR all others, leaders and followers became a byword for corruption at levels exceeding millions and now billions. In this tragic environment Tamil Nadu was getting asphyxiated and gasped for breath.
Cannot Tamil Nadu throw up a politician untarnished by unforgivable demerits? Or positively will not a state of 80 million Tamils bring forth a leader of whom the people will feel proud and even privileged? Auvvaiyar a Tamil poetess living in Sangam times had said fruit trees mature and ripen only at the appointed time. In 2020, the hour produced the man.
He is Kuppusamy Annamalai aged 36 then, who plunged into incessant political work with laurels to win. Instantly he became the abiding hope of the widest spectrum of Tamil Nadu. As of now, with more than half of the state secure in his grip and the balance making its way unfailingly into his fold, he has 15 months to win the Lok Sabha encounter. Besides, 36 months from now to win the State Legislative Assembly war in 2026.
Ahead of this impending victory, the centre in Delhi has taken due cognizance of portending dangers fraught in the forward march. The fate of three Gandhis does not speak of unimpeachable security arrangements. The Mahatma tied the hands of the administration saying “God is my protector. If He cannot protect me, nobody else can”. Modi is very much with his feet on the ground. Four months back ‘Y’ security cover was given to Annamalai. In January 2023, it was enhanced to ‘Z’ level together with a bullet proof car having all the inhibitions incidental thereto. Modi has taken upon himself the obligation of safeguarding the life of a prospective Chief Minister.
One may wonder why all this? Bharathy the Tamil poet said in a different context, “Can we afford to forfeit a treasure of such worth?” A great value Modi has placed on Annamalai and Tamil Nadu. Why at this Juncture? Tamil Nadu knows in particular the fake heroes of Tamil Nadu politics strutting about in their self-proclaimed glory. They are getting impaled at the hands of BJP with the resolute efforts of Annamalai. In April this year in a much-publicized marathon walk, Tamil Nadu will get fine combed. The makers of millions and takers of billions well shrouded in their “Dravidian Illusion” will get exposed for what they are worth. When the cleansing starts, the Augean Stables would lose its idiomatic value.
The enhanced support for BJP at 303 seats and the NDA at 353 seats after the 2019 victory was a huge mandate for Modi to rule resolutely. The ease of greater resoluteness with larger seat strength is now forced upon Modi for the 3rd term in 2024. The key lies in success in the South. When South India Displays its importance in a catchment of 130 seats, the significance of Tamil Nadu centric Lok Saba elections with a prospective 39 seats will emerge.
Tamil Nadu is no longer confined only to its boundaries. It is an essential part of the Dravidian ensemble and an integral component of the Indian Federation not to mention the Defense Establishment. The incursions of China in the Indian Ocean, the intrusions of submarines in the Northern waters of Sri Lanka and the Southern seaboard of India are taken serious note of. Pakistan’s Gwadar Harbour, the CPEC highway, China’s engagements with Afghanistan with covetous eyes on her rich mineral resources are flashpoints for India. Northwest Kashmir is not out of sight for China. On the Eastern side of India, the involvements of China in the Bay of Bengal are of no less consequence. Prospecting for beche-de-mer in the Jaffna waters is too facile a red herring for the inscrutable Tamil mind on either side of Palk Strait to swallow.
As China churns the Bay and spreads its tentacles in the Indian Ocean, the foothold in Hambantota will get a greater tightening of China’s grip. India’s stance was aptly formulated as ‘Indira Doctrine’, in no way different from ‘Monroe Doctrine’ of USA. India’s compulsions in the Indian Ocean were wisely crafted by Prof. K M Panikkar. He was hand picked by Nehru as Ambassador to China in April 1949 and had the benefit of his wisdom on both Chinas: KMT and RED.
Annamalai’s excursion to Sri Lanka as Modi’s pick could not have been better timed. He was able to interact with the Tamil areas of the hill country and the north of Sri Lanka. India’s psyche needs little explanation. In an age of technological marvels, physical connection is not needed. Geographical proximity of Kachatheevu makes it a well-placed permanent Aircraft Carrier. A gift to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by the imperious Prime Minister of India in 1972 was only a poor patch to hold together a tearing fabric of India-Lanka relations. Was Rajya Saba endorsement obtained for this 50 year-old gift? Perhaps yet to be.
In recent times, South India has assumed greater strategic importance regarding India’s security. The landing of the IPKF in 1987 and a stay till early 1990 was not a minor exercise. It had deep implications as may be seen when a few decades unfold.
That the soft underbelly of India in the south has pointed vulnerability is well understood by her. Not so well grasped by the ethnically related minority of Sri Lanka. Modi’s well-crafted priority is balanced growth of India for which installing BJP governance in the southern states is a condition precedent. Not to permit South Indian States to fall into enemy influence is cardinal to India’s concerns and strategies. Tamil Nadu claiming most attention in this political plan has been much in evidence. Time span available for success at the hustings is three years. The best man identified for achievement is Annamalai and this truth is hidden from nobody.
A leader on a Platter
Every general election Sir Ivor Jennings said, is for the selection of the Prime Minister. No statement can be truer. The votes counted for Tamil Nadu in 2024 is a precursor for the general election in 2026. For both elections the same Annamalai is selected by BJP, by the Party leadership headed by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. What is unique about Annamalai?
The most salient quality about him is his intellect. The next fundamental is character. Valluvar says not even a cataclysm can make a man of principles shift away from them. Versatility flowing from wide reading is remarkable, with none of his age to match. His linguistic capability spreads marvellously over Tamil and English. He is equally facile in Hindi and Kannadam. All his speeches in the first two are delivered persuasively for the impression to remain indelible. Hence a daily expansion in the band of followers who are stirred to action without much instruction.
The first indispensable requisite for a great leader is his proclivity for oratory that is convincing. Thirukkural says, success in speech should grip the listener and in the minds of those who didn’t have a chance to hear, create a yearning to seek. In the last century, a well known speaker said of his iconic leader, “When you listen to him you doubt your own views”. So it is with the emerging Tamil Nadu Leader before whom fakes fall like grass beneath the scythe.
About his credentials he would proudly say that he was born in a farming family in Karur, Tamil Nadu in June 1984. He joined the IPS in the 2011 batch, after securing degrees in engineering and management. He held with distinction, several coveted positions in Tamil Nadu and Bangalore. His wife is well placed at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Bangalore. However promising his career was, he responded to a higher calling for serving the state and the nation and resigned his post. He joined the Bharatha Janatha Party (BJP) in August 2020 at age 36. What an age of maturing wisdom. “Service to humanity and salvation unto you” said Vivekananda, which Bose accepted as his motto in life as he himself acknowledged. With that credo, let Annamalai continue on his path of idealism and redeem the Tamils and the Indian nation.