September 5, 2016
If AIADMK men and women burst into songs and dance ulogizing Amma, the Puratatchi Thalaivi (revolutionary leader), it comes as no surprise as politics in the ruling party, success is measured by the lows to one can stoop to garner Amma’s blessings.
Which is why, senior AIADMK men and women think nothing of even bowing the helicopter ferrying Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa and even kissing the spot that the chopper landed on, as a mark of their respect to their supreme leader. This was the scene at many an election rally venue where Jayalalithaa visited for poll campaigning.
Cut to the present: whether it is a television show, parliament or state assembly, AIADMK members do not waste a single moment or an opportunity to showcase their talent – at buttressing Amma and highlighting her achievements in whichever way they can.
Any AIADMK MP when speaking in Parliament, in either of the houses, begins by thanking Puratatchi Thalaivi for permitting him or her to speak and pepper their intervention or speech inside the house with mention of Amma at every possible moment.
At first there was novelty value and Delhites who saw these performances live on either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha Tv were amused and now since they do it as a matter of routine have gotten used to it. But, many wonder about this culture of sycophancy and competitive sycophancy that rules the Dravidian parties, that revolve around the cult of the leaders. Amma in case of AIADMK and Karunanidhi (Kalaignar) in case of the DMK and now its treasurer MK Stalin is being the preferred one of the party men and women, as he is going to be the political heir to Karunanidhi.
The just concluded assembly 15th session, that ended on Friday, was entertaining in a different way. Sans the opposition that was largely evicted from the house for its unruly behavior, the ruling benches had no stopping the heaping of praises on Amma.
Taking their cue from AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP A Navaneethakrishnan’s rendition of an old song from MGR film Idhaya Veenai during his intervention on a discussion on Kashmir, his party MLAs in the state assembly inserted popular MGR movie songs whenever they spoke in the house, either while responding the question or in their speeches.
On the concluding day of the session on Friday, agriculture minister D Doraikannu used his vocal chords to sing out `Vivasai vivasai’ (Farmer, farmer) from the MGR film `Vivasai’. Health minister C Vijayabasker chose dialogues from a Shivaji Ganesan starrer to praise Jayalalithaa’s deft handling of demands of his health ministry.
In terms of creativity, MLA C Vijayakumar went one step further. He rewrote the words of a famous song on Lord Muruga, replacing the Lord with Amma If in the original song, Lord Muruga is described as the ruler on the hsotes of Tiruchendur, the modified version said ‘On Indian soil in Tamil Nadu, Amma rules. Chief minister Jayalalithaa was present in the house and smiled at the MLA, the highest medal that the MLAs are competing for in the assembly.
Opposition parties were quick to castigate the speaker for allowing such sentiments and songs but locked out genuine criticism and well-meaning suggestions on the steps for welfare of the people. With the entire opposition evicted out of the assembly (80 DMK MLAs including Stalin) the opposition had no voice inside the assembly, “what else will the ruling party MLAs do other than to fall at her feet,” said a DMK MP.
The quality of debate in the assembly is abysmal said a senior DMK leader.
Stalin has constantly been attacking the ruling party and how the house was being run, giving the opposition no chance to even speak inside the assembly.
Which is why, he said, “I demand live telecast of the proceedings of the assembly, like it happens in parliament, so that the people get to see exactly what happens inside the house.”
Another senior DMK leader said that in the house, ruling party members were being given the time to sing songs but the opposition members were prevented from even raising important issues.