What does the common man in Tamil Nadu want at this point in time?
"The answer is simple — a stable government," said 19-year-old Aishwarya, a college student.
While politicians are caught in a power struggle, people of Tamil Nadu want nothing but a stable government. A leader who can match up to Puratchi Thalaivi Amma — J Jayalalithaa. Just by attaching her name to the party, the fighting-and-reuniting AIADMK members will not get anywhere close to being the supremo she was.
It's been months since Tamil Nadu lost Amma, but the state is still in mourning.
It's been months since Tamil Nadu lost its Amma, but the state is still in mourning.
When MGR died, a young Jayalalithaa fought her way through. She was a ruthless lioness and made everyone sit up and take note of her.
Today VK Sasikala, TTV Dhinakaran, O Panneerselvam (OPS) and Edapadi Palanisamy (EPS) are all over the news. People are definitely sitting up and taking note with all of them making headlines, but for the wrong reasons. Everyone plotting against the other, fighting to take over the chief minister's throne.
Earlier, OPS was forced to resign even as Sasikala tried occupying the throne. And then she had to go to Parappana Agrahara Central Jail in Bangalore (convicted in disproportionate assets case). Then it was TTV's turn to step aside (charged with bid to bribe poll panel besides allegations of money laundering against him). All this while EPS was in news mainly for "dancing to the Mannargudi Mafia's tunes".
So, what do people want now?
A system that they can believe in.
They are lost in the melee of shifting camps (allegiance) — from the time the MLAs were lodged in Kuvathoor resort to tears rolling down their cheeks when Sasikala was convicted to beating their chests before the Amma samadhi at Marina to now changing camps and ousting Chinnamma and her nephew — people are lost and confused. No one seems to know who's in whose camp and for how long. Who wants to make money and who is working for the people.
There was a time when OPS stood with 12 people on his side of the fence. Today, TTV and Sasikala find themselves in that same lonely corner with an even lesser number.
Even though there are people who blame TTV and believe it's probably him who is still scheming. "I am willing to step down from the party. I want to talk to the ministers and listen to them and hear out their fear," TTV said before stepping aside to pave the way for a merger of rival factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. This shows he's open to dialogue, but the ministers have clearly closed this door when they decided to oust the duo on Tuesday night.
Now, in the name of good governance it is nothing but a fight for power. OPS and EPS have announced that they are willing to join hands, but of course with "terms and conditions applied". Both want to be the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Both want the best portfolios. Will a merger still happen soon?
Well, the Tamil turmoil still seems far from over.
While the OPS camp states the merger will happen with OPS becoming the CM, and EPS his deputy, at the EPS camp, AIADMK leader Thambidurai made it very clear that Tamil Nadu already has a CM, and he is not giving up his position.
"OPS knows his role and he knows what he has to do. Tamil Nadu already has a CM and that is EPS," he said, infuriated with the media for questioning him if OPS would come back to power.
There was a point when the public sentiment was with OPS. When people sympathised with him for "getting used" as a political pawn (who was appointed by Amma, but ousted by Chinnamma). Many also looked up to him as a messiah who would save the people from those who allegedly went against Amma. But today, he has lost that respect. Now, people think of him as power hungry.
The ordinary Tamilian, who goes about his 9-5 job, has lost all hope in the government and has learnt to be indifferent to political developments.
As long as he gets paid to eat three square meals a day, he goes about his life. Political happenings make no difference to his everyday routine. A routine life where EPS and OPS are nothing but mere acronyms.