‘Power of Attorney’ politics
Friday, 17th February 2017
Rational TN can stump lawmen and laymen alike. The happenings here have always been high on absurd theatrics and can easily carry away and confound even the sanest of minds in an emotional sweep. The current scenario is just old wine adulterated by a Midas touch, in fresh disposable plastic crush cups.
Whenever some kind of real or reel show hits the public space suddenly, the optics spike in a jiffy and the din touches such a crescendo that the normal vision is blurred by the haze of hype and our ear drums are thumped and torn beyond tolerance. A frustrated, fatigued populace has no choice but to fall back on its familiar ‘last resorts’, namely social media memes and Vadivelu capers. Thick skin and lighter veins are our insurance against the ceaseless antics.
This past week I have realised the futility of writing on TN politics. Everytime I put and proceed with the finger on the keyboard, it is the ‘backspace’ button that beckons most. Ditto now too. By the time you read this, if indeed you do, bless such souls, the words and thoughts would have been trampled upon by a thousand new ‘developments’ and a million more WhatsApp caricatures, verbal and visual.
So, at the time of going to press, the new CM is Edappadi Palanisamy, EPS, and we will know his status officially only after this issue comes out of press. In just five days, we have had three CM prospects; stop-gap OPS, who had to make way in a huff. The Udan Pirava Sahodhari, UPS, whose power connection was snapped by the SC and her lackey, EPS, all set to blare as His Madam’s Voice, in her stead. And if by some act of God, he fails to make a clean sweep of the floor of the Assembly, the ball will be back in OPS court to prove his claim.
There are some sore points that beg our attention. The MLAs’ prolonged confinement in a luxury resort is actually the most telling proof of undue influence, of all kinds if reports of merry-making are to be believed. There is no clue till the floor test of the numbers in so-called willing captivity. UPS and EPS have consistently said in public that the legislators will be let out only if there is a call by the Governor to form the Government. Indeed, when the hosts themselves issue such blatant ultimatums, it is a classic kidnap-blackmail- hostage scenario.
Is that not reason enough to question their claim and demand release of MLAs first before inviting EPS? There is much debate about the legal obligations of the Governor. The Constitution is no substitute for common wisdom. On the contrary there are many provisions that expressly demand of the titular heads to exercise their discretion or satisfy themselves in these kinds of situations. No court can pressurise a Governor to act within a particular timeframe. It is my considered personal opinion that, having waited for Sasi & Co to get convicted, a stern order to free the MLAs was the most logical step, even if Govt formation were to take some more time. The Constitution and this cursed State would not be any poorer. The dreadful prospect of UPS and then EPS had infused popular psyche with infinite patience. But alas!
Also, OPS had no opportunity to even talk to the MLAs. The MLAs themselves never had the chance to talk to their partymen or to know the mind of their constituency. In a democracy, a legislator’s free will has to emanate and evolve from the will of those whom he/she represents and in our party system, also those who worked for him/her. This never happened, probably out of fear or for some extraneous favours, that need no guesswork. If the MLAs themselves waived this right which is really a duty, they are guilty of a graver crime; failing the people who voted them. We all knew who the people preferred, or at least, who the people did not certainly want. That elected reps feel beholden to those who gave them ticket or whatever else instead of to those who empowered them, is a terrible travesty.
Democracy has thrown up a perverse arithmetic by which the extracted will of around 120-odd characters sans, er, ditto, is all set to negate the visible, spontaneous, collective will of about 8 cr hapless people. Indeed every vote has been vetoed and vitiated. The AIADMK cadre know not how to deal with Chinnamma’s choice when Amma’s perennial preferred person has been put away unceremoniously. For the black mark on our index finger on poll day, we have had too many black days.
So, unless J’s ghost miraculously makes an appearance in her MLAs’ consciences which are now on a holiday, let’s all gear up for a new TN, TTV TN! And from Jungle Raj to Jail Raj. Rationalism has brought us a long way, surely!
About ColumnistA chartered accountant and a cost accountant by qualification and a person of friendly disposition but someone who values his and others privacy, T R Jawahar was not cut out for journalism. But how Jawahar has ended up as one of the most prominent journalists in Chennai and the creator of some important big news brands at such a young age is the stuff of destiny and the dint of hard work.
Born to that doyen of journalism and a legend in these parts, T R Ramaswamy, well known by the affectionate acronym TRR, Jawahar no doubted has inherited his analytical and writing skills from that great man. Apart from this, the father and son duo share another important quality that define their entire world-view, which is humanism. A warm empathy for all beings in the world is the core of their beings.
After the passing away of TRR in the late 80s, T R Jawahar took over the helm of the Chennai’s most popular English eveninger, News Today, and seen it grow through both good and bad times. Through the unceasing publication of News Today, Jawahar is continuing the legacy of his father who founded the paper as a social commitment as well as an entrepreneurial venture.
Jawahar further perpetuated the journalistic memory of his father by founding the popular Tamil eveninger Maalai Sudar. The two papers have carved a unique niche for themselves through an adroit mix of news and views, which help the readers to retain their Indian cultural identity.
Apart from this, the biggest and the most path-breaking journalistic venture from Jawahar is Talk Media, that publication stable that has now become the talking point in the city with a slew of neighbourhood weeklies covering the length and breadth of Chennai. His Point Blank column in the Talk Media is hugely popular for its most forthright views conveyed in cheeky and witty manner.
To discuss Jawahar just in journalistic terms would, however, amount to doing a huge disservice to his rounded personality. Endowed with a sunny sense of humour, Jawahar is a connoisseur of movies both in Tamil and English. He is a virtual treasure house of knowledge on Tamil film music and Tamil poetry. He is a history buff and a keen reader of English and Tamil works, which is counter-pointed by his fetish for modern gadgets. A willing traveller, he has brought to bear those varied experiences in his trips in India and abroad on his writings.
Despite his professional achievements and his focussed administration of a company which employs over 500 people, Jawahar remains essentially a family man, a caring husband and a doting father. He derives his strength from his wife and daughter, and his home and office forever remain his temples.