Monday, October 29, 2012

Q on possible defection - Captain Vijaykant's altercation at airport


Can a person be faulted for being consistent and behaving as he is ?  - then why is this person faulted.   On screen, the hero when confronted with wrong, folds his tongue, gets angry, eyes turning red would talk gesticulating his anger.

 Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), the political party of Tamil film actor “captain” Vijayakanth seems to be in serious trouble with four MLAs meeting with the AIADMK leader and chief minister J Jayalalithaa.  The DMDK has 29 MLAs in the Assembly and Mr. Vijayakant is the Leader of the Opposition. Though the DMDK and the AIADMK were part of the same alliance for the 2011 Assembly elections, they fell out subsequently in the wake of a war of words between Ms. Jayalalithaa and Mr. Vijayakant. The DMDK went alone in the local body polls and fared poorly.

Factually, they are the primary opposition party in the State above DMK & Congress, its president Vijayakant is taking on the ruling AIADMK on various fronts- whence  two of his party MLAs followed by another couple  called on Chief Minister Jayalalithaa  and lauded her government’s performance.  R. Sundarrajan, representing the Madurai Central Assembly constituency, and K. Tamil Azhagan elected from the Tittagudi reserved constituency, met Ms. Jayalalithaa and sought her help in the implementation of development projects in their constituencies. The meeting was held at the Secretariat on Friday morning.  More was to follow the next day with actor  C. Arun Pandian, who was elected from the Peravurani constituency in Thanjavur district, and Michael Royappan, a film producer, representing Radhapuram constituency in Tirunelveli district, called on Ms. Jayalalithaa at her Poes Garden residence.  Typically they hailed the CM for the various welfare schemes an described their meeting as seeking more for their constituencies.   To a question whether they had  joined the ruling party,  they retorted that  they had come to make a representation before the Chief Minister regarding their constituencies and added “We will support all the good measures of the government.”  Mr. Sundararajan was quoted as stating that he need not seek permission from party founder Vijayakant to meet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

If more  warm up to the AIADMK and all of them switch sides, the DMDK will lose its status of the opposition party to the DMK which has 23 seats in the assembly.

For those not actively following Tamilnadu politics, DMDK [Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam]  is a party floated by actor Vijayakanth in Sept 2005. Vijayakanth’s original name was Chandrasekhar and his father Alagarswami was Madurai's Councillor for two terms.   His nickname in film industry is Captain" and "Puratchi Kalaignar". This party contested in all 234 seats in the state elections in May 2006 with Vijayakanth contesting in Vridhachalam. The party polled almost 3 million votes (about 10% share). All the candidates of the DMDK with the exception of Vijayakanth lost the elections in 2006.  Vijayakanth, once a DMK sympathiser, was bitterly anti-Karunanidhi and hence AIADMK had no difficulty in teaming up with him for the 2011 assembly elections.   In the 2011 Tamilnadu elections, his party DMDK won 29 seats out of 41 contested seats and he became the leader of the opposition.

The present signs of a possible defection could have been the result of some underground political maneuvering by the AIADMK.  DMDK  is largely family driven, with his wife and brother-in-law sharing its control with him; and the voter-base mostly comprises his fans and followers, it remains to be seen if a split in the party can indeed destabilise him and weaken his constituency.   In the present political systems, most parties ensure that  the MLAs are virtual nobodies,  so that  a defection or split might not mean much to the party’s electoral influence.

It is not the first time that Captain has  landed himself in trouble  due to  intemperate public behaviour.  On Saturday, local TV channels had a field TV showing clips of his ‘losing temper’ with some reporters at the  Chennai airport  when they pursued him with questions on the possible split in his party.  The popular, evil-fighting mass hero was shown as angrily retorting and one of his aide pushing a reporter aside with alleged threats, foul-mouthing those around.  The altercation made up a good comedy show of the otherwise mass hero.  Newspaper reports state that the trouble began when Vijayakanth, accompanied by his wife Premalatha and DMDK MLA 'Anagai' Murugesan, came to the airport to board a Jet Airways flight to Madurai. Soon after he alighted from his car, media thronged him to seek his reaction about four of his Party MLAs calling on AIADMK Supremo.  At this stage, one of the scribes pulled his hand in a bid to bring him to have a sound byte, leading to an altercation.  Vijaykant was depicted as stating it was not a national or an important issue to be discussed. "There are much more pressing issues like prevalent of Dengue and unannounced power cuts in Tamil Nadu which needs to be discussed,"

When the reporter reportedly drew his attention  to the rampant power cut  in Rishivandhiyam Constituency from where he was elected, a visibly upset Vijayakanth, with folded tongues, asked from which media he was representing. As the journo did not reveal his identity, the MLA with him pushed the scribe and also tried to assault him. Vijayakanth is also said to have unleashed some abuses. The scribe has filed a complaint with the airport police although it is not sure whether it names the leaders.  The media outfits said the manner in which Vijayakanth abused the journo did not behave well to the position of the Leader of the Opposition held by him.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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