It was matter of ‘when’ only and it came today.
J. Jayalalithaa became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu again. And she is stronger this time, than her absolute victory in 2011 assembly polls and an even performance in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In 2011, she won 150 out of 234 assembly seats. DMDK was a distant second with 29 sears. DMK could win just 23 seats. In 2014 LS polls, extending the winning streak of 2011, her party AIADMK won 37 of 39 seats.
Yes, the disproportionate assets case that has derailed her juggernaut has still life if it is pursued in the Supreme Court but the Karnataka government and her political opponents are yet to make up their minds in spite of debating the matter in the media.
Probably she took her time, from May 11, the day of her acquittal by the Karnataka High Court, to further handle such issues before taking the reins of the state again, for the fifth time. Her first public appearance came only yesterday when she met the Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah to stake claims again.
She was convicted by a Bangalore court last September in a DA case and was imprisoned for four years and Rs. 100 crore fine. It led to her disqualification till the decision on her appeal by the Karnataka High Court. The case had to be shifted out of Tamil Nadu and the decision had come after 18 years.
Like September 2001, when Jayalalithaa was barred from holding the chief-ministerial post after she was found guilty in cases including the TANSI land deal, her trusted aide and the current Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam was made the chief minister again, even if ‘temporarily’. On both occasions, he did not enter the chief minister’s office.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted her on her swearing-in. He was there in 2011 as the Gujarat’s chief minister when she took the office for the fourth time. The PMO Twitter handle tweeted – “PM @narendramodi congratulates Jayalalithaa ji on taking oath as CM of Tamil Nadu and conveys his best wishes to her & her team.”
He had also congratulated her on her acquittal from the Karnataka HC in the DA case. A Union Minister of the BJP was present there today. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu sent his wishes. Clearly, Jayalalithaa knows how imperative she is for the Centre for floor management exercise of the Indian Parliament where the BJP is in underwhelming minority in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha. In turn, a friendly tie with a strong prime minister and majority Union Government can be very helpful, especially when elections are just a year away.
It will be interesting to see the further political developments in the state where elections are less than a year away. ‘Amma’ (mother, as she if fondly called) is back after her exoneration from a higher court and she will exploit both the gains now – the ‘pluses’ of exoneration that come after her ‘victimization’ in the DA case.
Tamil Nadu’s ‘who’s who’ including Rajinikanth, Sharat Kumar, N. Srinivasan and A. C. Muthaiah were present during the grand oath-taking ceremony in the Centenary Auditorium of Madras University. Jaya’s fans were shouting slogans and were looking to get a glimpse of their leader. Giant screens at different places were broadcasting the event live.
The oath-ceremony today should be seen from the political perspective of a state assembly election that is to be held around April 2916. And therefore, it was all in the grand style of the South Indian politics – especially of Tamil Nadu.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/