Even Donald Trump, who many believe a representative of male chauvinism, though wrongly, accepted that one good woman is better than ten good men. And there were Amma Didi, two good women – one with an eternal angry frown developed in the days when CPM goons were systematically destroying Bengal; the other with a grandeur poise, almost like a goddess blessing her devotees, have indeed put two unholy alliances of Congress in place. And, they were the only ones who bucked the anti-incumbency factor in these elections. Though in Bengal, CPM had a record of ruling for more than three decades, it is almost after three decades the Tamil pendulum stopped swinging and chose the incumbent candidate.
Amma Didi Victory Saga: How Opposition went all out to defeat them
The way Congress aligned with Communists to fight against one of their own ex-Congress woman reminds me the scene from Mahabharata, when Duryodhana seeks the army of Krishna, whom he abhors to fight with his own cousins. I think in the recent history there may not be any parlance to such blatant depravity exhibited by Congress and they only can break their past records in all such negative achievements. For three long decades Congress fought against the tyranny of Jyoti Basu and his army of comrades. Fed up with the high-command patronizing the sophisticated, ineffective aristocratic leaders of Congress, Mamta had to split – wide open. And she worked. Very hard. Then, she considered defeating CPM by playing by their rule book. She simply got all the goons or we can say, more powerful goons, to join her party. For the goons, power and money matters. And she won. That was the story five years ago.
Amma Didi Victory Saga: Didi is little less left than left
In the last five years, to speak frankly, only the flag and name of ruling party changed in the state of West Bengal. People continued to suffer. Only difference being the white saree clad Mamta visits them and assures that she also lives in poverty. She fought with Union government, both of UPA and NDA. She fought with everyone, even if the other party was not interested in fighting her. Still, people voted her to power, with more margin. Why? It is a sort of million dollar question Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat might be thinking over and over. [Prakash Karat seems to be content with the win in Kerala, so let him savor the moment].
There were two major reasons. And CPM is at the base of both reasons. One – By living (?) under the terror rule of CPM for three decades, people in fact have forgot to imagine a better life. Here, I am not talking about the urban voter, but the rural one, who have shifted their loyalty en masse to TMC from CPM. For them, living under the shadow of violence is not new. Already three generations have witnessed and experienced it. For them, Didi is a better alternative. At least, she empathizes with them, after every violent action by TMC goons.
The other reason is the cadre of CPM. The unholy alliance stitched for the sake of plucking the flowers of Mamta was seen as an opportunistic affair bordering on immorality, by the cadre of CPM, even by their low standards. Yes, at national level, communists flirted with both BJP and Congress at times. But, in the land that gave birth to Naxalism, it is difficult to forget the decade old rivalry and the cadre had chosen to look other way, in abhorrence. Still, some disciplined ones followed the dictum and it resulted in Congress increasing its numbers, while left was left out in the open.
Amma Didi Victory Saga: An ailing Amma or Opposition’s gimmicks?
About two thousand kilometers away from Kolkata, in a posh locality of Chennai, Amma resides in the Poes Garden. Down with ill-health, she could not even do canvas properly. She returned home every evening – like a good girl, though by helicopter, after attending rallies far away from Chennai. And she was fighting the blame of improper handling of floods occurred at the end of last year. The man living in the wheel chair for over one and half a decade, Karunanidhi dared her to explain why her public appearances are so few. She had to inaugurate many a government schemes or projects through video conferences, but not by being present at ceremonies. And, the party that was ever hungry for power, Congress had an alliance with DMK, forgetting the ministers in Tihar because of 2G.
Amma Didi Victory Saga: How Amma bucked the anti-incumbency
Jayalalitha, though inherently rich was fighting her DA case that was filed by Subramanian Swamy, who incidentally was bete-noire to even the Gandhis, and only Gandhis can understand how Jayalalitha is suffering at his hands. When convicted by the trial court, she had to quit the seat of power and could only return when the high court cleared her. Even now, her case is at Supreme Court and she had to deal with all her opponents reminding the public about her jail term.
Still, she won. Though her margin reduced, unlike Mamta’s increased tally in Bengal, she won. And, in Tamilnadu politics, she became the first CM to win, bucking the anti-incumbency, next only to MG Ramachandran, who is still a step above Rajnikant in cult-following. In fact, most of the exit polls predicted DMK win, considering the swinging nature of TN politics. Jaya plucked the pendulum and threw it in the Bay of Bengal. Probably, that is the reason for the current cyclonic storm!
Amma Didi Victory Saga: Amma style of governance
Jokes apart, her governance in the last term was way above the average governance in many states, except the handling of floods in Chennai. And Tamil Nadu is not only Chennai. That is the main reason for her win. Yes, many of her moves were popular – including the Amma canteens that are being replicated even by – you know who? Arvind Kejriwal!
On the other hand, the grand old man of DMK was still struggling to sustain the combined family (almost like those shown in Rajashri films) with all his sons and daughters from his three wives and along with their kith and kin. He could arrange an alliance with Congress, but I don’t think even Congressmen vote for Congress candidates in Tamilnadu. Karunanidhi failed in forging the alliance with Vijayakant, who had entertained people of Tamilnadu more than he entertained in his long film career. And, this had made the difference between win and loss. May be Karunanidhi is ruing and his son, whom he nominated crown CM is severely frustrated he was giving all illogical reasons for the victory of Jayalalitha. But, Vijayakant could never even bother why he lost, like all megalomaniacs.
Amma Didi Victory Saga: But a resurgent BJP is always a danger
It is not that the win of BJP in Assam is not significant. Even Ravish Kumar of NDTV acknowledged the hard work done by the RSS over three decades. And it was supported by the inaction of Congress taking against the continuous migration. I wonder how many noticed the first failure of Prashant Kishor, who failed to forge an alliance between Ajmal and Rahul. In fact Ajmal decried the arrogance of Rahul Gandhi. Ajmal offered alliance – even after firt phase of election, but Congress failed to respond. And our good media failed to notice the first failure of PK!
Though the win of Communists in Kerala was a foregone conclusion, the vote share of BJP surprised many. And incumbency found to work in one state- Puducherry!
Finally, the year AD 2016 could be called “ Amma Didi 2016”.
How about “Jaya Jayalalitha – Jaya Mamta