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The nuclear option Quality silica from Neyveli IPL type auction for VCs? Contrarian cousins The Swadeshi Trump For whom the MIDS bell tolls? More Shakthi to Das’ elbow L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Road development slows down The power-full Hindujas A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Making ‘my Amaravati’... A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Cutting the nose to spite the face No Maha Koottani in TN... IAS invades NDDB... EVM is tamper-proof A friendly business group Delhi is distant Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt Convulsions in The Hindu Welcome GST Intellectual of rare qualities Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Auto components surge… Building loyalty through the stomach Parliament in paralysis... Rahman at CIC Medical costs hit the roof... Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Muffled voices for merit… Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Why land prices zoom in TN? Modi and the lady The few handicaps... Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL He continues the focus on social amelioration The star of Spencers is no more Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Revive development banks... Roaring Ro-Ro facility Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan WTO Meet: resolved to meet again No engine for this car TIAM turns a full cycle The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more The why of tax incentives PC’s preference for professionals A glass full of corruption Kulandai was a giant EEC at the National Media Centre GM Technology at last! Moily’s bold thrust Editor's Says When nations steal growth from one another… Another Indian music maestro at the UN Protest masters... New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… Preserving for the future Where a state respects its litterateurs… A more liberated TN… Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School Fortune for Indian Airlines Tribute – UCAL Selvan… A yen for wastage… Put expensive assets created to use... A professional at the helm of IRDA... Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Kudos to NDTV... An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Build close rapport with business leaders Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Shanti and Sadhana through Music The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Return to king coal for urea... Things happen by accident and not by design... 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TGS- The king storyteller Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked Align crops to agro climate endowments… Lalu’s envy, India’s pride Five star activism stalls development activity Engineering seats go abegging Vibrant Gujarat CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... Telangana in top gear… Nuclear power at the nucleus A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… Streamlining mandatory third party cover Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Breaththrough in malaria control Russi Mody – a tribute Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! Strengthen the base... Demise of a media baron... Silver Years of Madras Musings Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses... 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A welcome initiative by the judiciary When Ratan Tata visited SRM Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Tax agriculture A proud Madrasi Multi-faceted Venkat Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Permanent secretariat for TN GIM …and of a popular trade leader Editor's Notes Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated Polls and promises A think tank for Chennai The Gulf aviation boom TELANGANA at last…BUT Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara Tough task taking states together Small units prefers to remain small... Banning booze... Quality education through the PPP mode Haul over the coal Of course, Gujarat is vibrant Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... GNS - 100: our first subscriber This scant respect for Law The rise and fall of Annamalai University The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu London, London Narayan SoA @ 80 Which side are you, Montek? Waning interest in public discussions… Shipping woes of Chennai companies Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! B H Kothari - a tribute Maximising the micro pricing … There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner!
 
Modi and the lady

I see a parallel in the campaign strategies of J Jayalalithaa and Narendra Modi. The latter helped BJP decimate opposition in most states. Likewise AIADMK Supremo Jayalalithaa’s campaign made mincemeat of the Opposition. The AIADMK won 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. The other two went to Pon. Radhakrishnan, BJP’s state president and Anbumani Ramadoss of PMK, part of the BJP-led alliance.

Jayalalithaa set the target to win all the 40 seats including the one from Puducherry. In a hectic schedule, her campaign spread through six weeks. She addressed hugely attended meetings in each one of the 40 constituencies. She galvanised the party workers as never before; entrusted work to ministers and district secretaries and other local party functionaries. She projected the achievements of her government over the last three years.

For the first time since 1967, major political parties of the state fought on their own. A few minor parties, mostly caste-based, fought under the lead of BJP. It took long to knit this alliance and there was no enthusiasm among the constituents to pull together. Particularly hostile were the relations between actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK and the Vanniar outfit PMK.

The arithmetic formulated by C Rajaji and C N Annadurai in 1967, of preventing the split of votes among parties opposed to the major Congress at that time, worked well in the subsequent four decades. Congress rode piggyback either on the DMK or the AIADMK. So did the Communists. This time Jayalalithaa boldly opted to contest all on her own and won with such results! The vote share of AIADMK was a healthy 44.3 per cent. The DMK suffered the worst defeat after 1991 of drawing a blank. Ditto for the Congress which lost in all the constituencies it contested. Its vote share was just around 4 per cent. The DMDK led by actor Vijaykanth  also drew blank.

The DMK was built on the oratory of leaders right from C N Annadurai and M Karunanidhi to dozens of these down the line. Though M K Stalin, who functioned as the Mayor of Chennai and as Deputy Chief Minister of the state, is a good organiser, he  lacks the oratory and charisma of his father. The nonagenarian Karunanidhi could not campaign in all the constituencies  as he used to in previous elections. This time the party also suffered from the alienation of  MK’s elder son M K Alagiri who turned hostile and was suspended from the party.

The elections poignantly revealed the absence of political leaders of stature except Jayalalithaa, who would command large audiences and spread attention.

Northern states like Bihar and UP traditionally voted on caste lines, but changed track this time. But the electoral calculations in Tamil Nadu continued to be based on the arithmetic of caste. Ironically, the state that ostensibly started to eliminate castes some eight decades ago, seems to be deeply entrenched in caste affiliations. The 2014 elections are no exception to parties selecting candidates on the strength of different castes in different constituencies.

After the resounding success of his organisational skills that won BJP and  its allies 73 out of 80 seats in UP,  Amit Shah should be in great demand for building the party in states with a weak base for the BJP like Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal.  This will be quite necessary to build the stature of BJP as a national party, wielding influence in all states.

Elections to state assemblies will offer good opportunities to attempt this.

If Congress could also endeavour to build the party from the grassroots, there will be hope for the evolution of a strong two-party system as in the US.

 

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