The AIADMK crisis: who'll take the party forward?

There is a disconnect between ruling party leaders and people of Tamil Nadu: Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Finance Minister in the UPA government, P. Chidambaram has come out with a new book, ‘Fearless in Opposition’ (Rupa Publications), at a time when his home State of Tamil Nadu is going through a period of political churn. He speaks to The Hindu on Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK succession battle, jallikattu and demonetisation...

Question: The AIADMK is seeing a succession battle. How do you view the events and the role of the Governor, having been Home Minister as well?

Answer: I have no comment on the internal process of the AIADMK, that is the right of the party’s MLAs to elect a leader. But, once a leader is elected and projected as a Chief Minister, it is the right of the people of Tamil Nadu to ask if that leader deserves to be Chief Minister. It is our right to ask whether the AIADMK could not have chosen a better leader than whoever they have elected. That question that people are asking on social media and elsewhere is gaining traction because of the peculiar circumstances in which the AIADMK finds itself today. Therefore, I think there is a disconnect between AIADMK MLAs and rank and file, the party’s leaders and the people of Tamil Nadu. This disconnect will not be resolved by OPS being replaced by another person, it will only widen. Constitutionally the Governor is bound to swear in the leader elected by a party which enjoys a majority. However, there is a small window where the Governor can exercise his discretion and say that “for the following reasons, I would like to wait for a few days.” It (window of discretion) has not been constitutionally tested yet, but is available to the Governor.

Q: The State was also rocked by protests to restore the traditional bull taming sport of jallikattu, which was a movement somewhat larger than its aims.

A: According to me it became an issue on which different people, motivated by different anxieties and concerns, could converge. In fact, many of the Marina (beach) protestors were urban youth who had perhaps never seen a jallikattu in their lives. There is deep-seated anxiety, anger and angst among the youth, particularly unemployed youth. There are no jobs. Even in a State like Tamil Nadu which always threw up jobs in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and services sector, there are no new jobs today. Add to that the caste polarisation that has taken place in Tamil Nadu over the past few years. I have not seen such a bitter caste polarisation in Tamil Nadu in a long time. The Vanniyar-Dalit, Thevar-Dalit conflict and between other communities, the divide has become so acute today that it is creating anxiety and concern among the youth about its future. Therefore, everybody seemed to pick up this one issue to express their protest. It was a protest movement rather than a Jallikattu movement, it was a protest for a variety of reasons, but it zeroed in on jallikattu. There was also deep anger against the Central government. After 48 hours of the movement’s starting, the slogans were anti-Modi. There was no anti-Panneerselvam or anti-AIADMK slogan. Why? Because they see that many of their anxieties stem from the approach of the Central government which is domineering, undemocratic, divisive and one which provokes conflict. They see the BJP as a north Indian, Hindi dominated party of obscurantist leaders. That is how they see it.

Q: Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has written the foreword for your book, in your interactions with him. Do you think he wanted to leave that post when he did?

A: His exit was an orchestrated exit. I had no doubt in my mind after my brief conversations with him that he would have gladly accepted a renewed term, which would be for about two years ending in September 2018, and if nudged he would even have till May 2019 term, which would have served the entire NDA government’s term in 2019. But clearly the government had a different idea and let loose their men to attack Raghuram Rajan and made it difficult for any self respecting distinguished economist to continue.

Q: That brings us to what happened after he left RBI—demonetisation. What are your estimates on the hit to the GDP compared to the government’s?

A: The government is too frightened to put out an estimate. We have estimates from CMIE to RBI. The CMIE puts it at 6%, the Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) puts it at 7.1% upto October numbers, it’s already down by half a per cent from the original estimate. So for the rest of the year it cannot be less than half a per cent, so it is well below 6.5%. The Economic Survey uses a very convoluted sentence, it says that it would be 0.25% to 0.5% less that the “new normal”, which is 7%. So that would put the figure between 6.5%-6.75%. And now the RBI yesterday has lowered it to 6.9%, and the IMF puts it at 6.6%. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be sub-6.5% and it could be close to 6%. They have shaved off between ₹1.5 lakh crore to ₹2.25 lakh crore from the GDP. 1% means ₹1.5 lakh crore, ₹2.25 lakh crore means 1.5% of the GDP which has been shaved off by this thoughtless and reckless act.

Q: In one of your columns, which is part of the book, you have said that the Congress needs to rewrite its policy platform. Why and in what way?

A: The Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S., or the Conservatives and the Labour party in the U.K., who are considered the models for parliamentary democracy, rewrite their platform once in four or five years. Our platform has not been rewritten for the last 25 years. Matters like human rights, rights of an individuals, right to privacy are a matter of concern to many educated people today. This whole issue of urbanisation, we still tend to believe that the vast majority lives in rural areas that is changing so fast. By the next election, I think half our population will be in urban areas. Urban poverty is very different from rural poverty, urban blight is different from rural. Earlier the idea of jobs was panning for the unskilled and uneducated , now we need to create jobs for the educated and skilled. The dynamics of India’s economy has changed over the last 25 years, we are still, with some changes, but more or less the platform we devised in 1991. That has to be rewritten. It’s not a criticism but a statement of fact, that every party has to rewrite its policy platform to appeal to the vote of the next generation.

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 2:01:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/There-is-a-disconnect-between-ruling-party-leaders-and-people-of-Tamil-Nadu-Chidambaram/article17277618.ece

In This Package
TN Govt. will not face any danger as long as it follows Jayalalithaa's path, says Dhinakaran
AIADMK reunion talks: Palaniswami faction sees contradictions in Panneerselvam camp
Behind the drama at the Tamil Nadu Assembly
Governor seeks report on Assembly incidents
Why is the AIADMK still in a crisis?
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M.K. Stalin sitting on a fast near the Gandhi statue in Chennai on Saturday in protest against the happenings in the Assembly.
Secret voting impossible, says Tamil Nadu Speaker
OPS camp rebuffed rival’s attempt at rapprochement in Assembly
Sasikala’s vow fulfilled, says Palaniswami
Edappadi government to face trust vote today
Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao greets Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in Chennai.
Governor not ‘duty-bound’ by popular will, says SC
EC asks Sasikala to explain appointment as AIADMK interim general secretary
Sasikala’s elevation illegal: MPs tell Election Commission
Edappadi Palaniswami sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Jugaad jurisprudence, the Tamil Nadu way
Change of guard
Paying homage: Edappadi K. Palaniswami went to the Jayalalithaa memorial after being
sworn-in Chief Minister.
Floor test on February 18; Palaniswami confident about majority
Stalemate continues, but AIADMK patch-up in sight
OPS seeks floor test, joins hands with Deepa
A few good officers
Edappadi K. Palaniswami
Palaniswami stakes claim to form govt.
V.K. Sasikala is consoled by a woman on her way to Poes Garden after she left Golden Bay Resorts in Koovathur, on the outskirts of Chennai on Tuesday.
Bengaluru prepares for Sasikala’s arrival
Justice Roy exhorts citizens to fight ‘deadly affliction’ of corruption
From farmer to CM pick — the rise of a Jaya loyalist
Sasikala convicted in DA case; can't contest elections for 10 years
DA case: Swamy, the man who lodged the complaint
Special Public Prosecutor B.V. Acharya File photo
DA case verdict shows that the corrupt cannot escape from law, says Acharya
O. Panneerselvam and Deepa Jayakumar, along with senior AIADMK leaders, pay homage at the Jayalalithaa's memorial, in Chennai on Tuesday.
Panneerselvam, Deepa join hands at Jayalalithaa's memorial
AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala.
Supreme Court verdict in Jaya assets case today
'Governor’s delay will pave way for horse trading'
Councillor announces her support to OPS
S.S. Saravanan MLA (third from left) Madurai south constituency extends his support to Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, in Chennai on Monday.
MLAs at resort traumatised, says ‘escaped’ legislator Saravanan
Could have become CM the day Jaya died: Sasikala
AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala interacting with party MLAs at a resort in Koovathur near Chennai on Sunday.
Sasikala stays back with flock, MLA ‘escapes’
‘Stop meddling in TN’
A look at the legal cases that Sasikala faces
Cartoonscape — February 13, 2017
Supreme Court verdict in DA case: what are the possible outcomes?
How the battle for CM will proceed on the floor of the house
AIADMK crisis: Conduct floor test, A-G Rohatgi tells Governor
AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala interacting with party MLAs at a resort in Koovathur near Chennai on Sunday.
An AIADMK MLA escapes from resort, joins OPS camp
Sasikala presents legislators before media, denies coercion
OPS, Sasikala greet Governor on his birthday
AIADMK legislators being held captive, tortured by goons, alleges Panneerselvam
MLAs at resort ‘shielded’ from media, visitors
A selfie moment for the sea of visitors to CM’s house
Karur, Dindigul ex-MLAs support Panneerselvam
Sasikala urges MLAs not to miss opportunity to form government
Puducherry AIADMK MLAs adopt ‘wait and watch’ policy
Governor has to decide TN CM issue by Monday, else case can be filed: Swamy
More AIADMK leaders switch camps, back Panneerselvam
Why Sasikala may not expel the dissident legislators
Growing support for OPS derailed Sasikala camp's plans
AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala submitting the list of MLAs supporting her to Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao
Sasikala urges Governor to 'act soon'
O. Panneerselvam and V.K. Sasikala
Two MPs extend support to OPS
A small road leading to the resort at Koovathur saw a flurry of activity, with many AIADMK leaders and Ministers visiting the MLAs on Friday.
Not forced to stay at resort: AIADMK MLAs
E. Madhusudhanan flanked by O. Panneerselvam and K.P. Munusamy addresses the media in Chennai on Friday.
Expulsions galore as factions await Governor’s call
AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala leaves after paying her tributes at the Jayalalithaa memorial, in Chennai on Thursday.
Swearing-in delayed to split party: Sasikala
After MGR’s demise in 1987 the party split, with Jayalalithaa heading one faction and MGR’s widow, Janaki Ramachandran, leading the other with the support of senior leaders such as Rm. Veerappan. Janaki was made Chief Minister on January 7, 1988, with the support of 97 members in a House of 234, after she won the confidence motion in a voting marred by allegations of foul play. The Union government led by Rajiv Gandhi dismissed her government.
Jayalalithaa vs Janaki: The last succession battle
Sasikala misconstrued my praise for OPS: Duraimurugan
AIADMK power struggle: Movers and shakers
Sasikala broke promise, betrayed Jayalalithaa: Panneerselvam
Panneerselvam camp files formal complaint against ‘illegal confinement’ of MLAs
WhatsApp forwards exhort MLAs to support OPS
Governor holds talks with Girija Vaidhyanathan
Will she, won’t she? The wait for Deepa continues
TN Governor likely to await SC judgement in Sasikala case
SC refuses urgent hearing on plea to restrain Sasikala from taking over as CM
O. Panneerselvam and V.K. Sasikala
Making sense of the numbers game
Cartoonscape — February 10, 2017
‘Every member of Sasikala’s family controls party now’
Pro-Sasikala MLAs get barrage of calls
AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala leaves after paying her tributes at the Jayalalithaa memorial, in Chennai on Thursday.
Sasikala stakes claim, all eyes on Governor
O. Panneerselvam and V.K. Sasikala
Tamil Nadu witnesses its own Game of Thrones
You are reading
Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
There is a disconnect between ruling party leaders and people of Tamil Nadu: Chidambaram
AIADMK MPs rally behind Sasikala
Governor could exercise ‘window of discretion’ to delay swearing-in: Chidambaram
In TN, all eyes on Raj Bhavan now
A stopgap Chief Minister who became unstoppable
AIADMK MLAs in Puducherry play it safe
Stalin demands CBI inquiry into threat to Panneerselvam
Support pours in for OPS in Thoothukudi
DMK slams Sasikala, seeks CBI probe into Panneerselvam’s allegations
No one can divide AIADMK, says Sasikala
Panneerselvam dismisses Sasikala’s charge of DMK conspiracy
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam speaking to mediapersons on Wednesday.
Judicial inquiry will be ordered into Jayalalithaa's death: Panneerselvam
Twitterati give Panneerselvam a big thumbs up
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi
No legal problem to Sasikala's appointment as CM: A-G
Tamil Nadu CM O. Panneerselvam at the Jayalalithaa memorial
OPS revolts, says he was forced to quit
Former speaker P.H. Pandian hits out at Sasikala
Sasikala not eligible to become CM, says AIADMK leader
Party cadres greet V.K. Sasikala.
No clarity on date of Sasikala’s swearing-in
Next Story