Impact of 2G acquittal on DMK and Tamil Nadu politics

Thursday morning brought a new ray hope for the age-old Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), who had been suffering the devastating effects of the 2G scam for more than a year now. The special CBI court in Delhi on 21 Dec acquitted all the 17 accused in the 2G scam saying that the CBI had miserably failed to provide adequate evidence.

After the verdict of the court, while the Congress and all the released accused celebrated the verdict, BJP pointed out that the Supreme Court had canceled all the 112 licenses back in 2012. Now that the former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi‘s daughter MP M Kanimozhi is acquitted by the court, the party is reinstigated with energy that it had been lacking.

After the verdict, DMK leader MK Stalin said that “There was no scam at all. Our stand has been vindicated.” Since the party is now free of all corruption allegations, it is likely to make a thumping comeback ahead of the polls. Though the OPS and EPS factions have merged, but there still continues the internal differences in the party. Taking advantage of this it is being speculated that DMK leader MK Stalin and Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran are likely to emerge as two strong leaders against the AIADMK.

As the RK Nagar bypolls are already underway, the verdict may not have much of an impact on these elections, but DMK had already gained momentum in the campaign with the AIADMK. The 2G verdict will undoubtedly be used a strong weapon by the DMK in the next assembly polls. Since the session of the incumbent AIADMK government may or may not survive for full five years, the verdict is a positive sign for the opposition party. A few months back after the Rebel AIADMK member Dhinakaran was disqualified by the party, he along with his supporters had challenged the majority of the AIADMK in the assembly and had called for a floor test.

The test was by one means or the other postponed until now. But now it is being speculated that the floor test will probably be held soon, after the disposal of pending cases in the Madras High Court. If the AIADMK fails to prove its majority the DMK might take advantage of it and try to form the government.

Last month when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the ailing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, there were talks that DMK may ditch the Congress and join hands with the BJP to form an alliance. It is also being said that DMK may find ways to equal its scores with the Congress. It had openly expressed its displeasure when the UPA government had sent A Raja and Kanomozhi to jail. The party also did not much appreciate the fact that the UPA government had not come to the rescue of the accused leaders of DMK back in 2010-2011.

Since now all the accused are free of the charges, the DMK is no longer under obligation to go with the Congress. But the question is how will BJP deal with it as the party and Narendra Modi himself had made the 2G scam a big poll issue during 2014 campaigns, making scathing attacks on Congress and DMK. If the DMK join hands with BJP, it has nothing to lose, rather it will have a word to boost that once the party which accused DMK with corruption charges is now an alliance.

On the other hand, when there were talks of DMK forming alliance with BJP after the visit of Modi, its working president MK Stalin had clearly rubbished the rumour. Instead, he had gone on to announce a statewide agitation against demonetization. Soon after the verdict was announced today, a close aide of Stalin said that the decision had nothing to do with BJP. He added that “It is good news for Thalapathi (as Stalin is fondly called by his cadre) and bad news for EPS, OPS and their mentors in Delhi.” He also said that there was no reason for DMK to join hands with BJP as the basic ideology of their party was built on the anti-BJP platform.

Stalin’s close aide also disclosed that after the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections were declared the party had held a meeting at the DMK headquarters. He further added that during the meeting it was discussed that the BJP might benefit if DMK aligns with it but the results of the Gujarat elections show that there is a shift in the mood of the people in respect to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP. He also added that BJP’s vote bank in Tamil Nadu is much smaller compared to that of Congress so why would the party ditch Congress now?

Another possible impact that the 2G verdict can have on the politics of Tamil Nadu is that while on one hand, it has boosted the morale of DMK, on the other it has also weakened the possibility of people like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Vishal entering the politics to capitalise on anti-incumbency trends and corruption in politics.

It cannot be confidently stated as for now, whether the DMK will ditch Congress to join BJP or not, but what is clear is that the 2G scam verdict will majorly affect the Tamil Nadu politics as new political equations may be formed and old ones may suffer changes.