Tamil Nadu

Private company offered to craft strategy for DMK to ride on jallikattu protests

A man attempts to tame a bull at jallikattu in Coimbatore.   | Photo Credit: M_Periasamy

Leaked email transcripts and documents accessed by The Hindu show that a private company called One Mind Generation Research Foundation (OMG) sought to shape the DMK’s key strategic political decisions during the pro-jallikattu protests of 2017.

DMK Tiruchi MLA Mahesh Anbil Poyyamozhi and DMK Anna Nagar MLA Mohan Karthik are its directors.

The email transcripts between OMG and a management consulting firm show that elaborate plans were discussed to promote ‘Brand Thalapathy’ during the historic and apolitical jallikattu protests.

While the efforts were on to organise a ‘hunger strike’ in December 2015 itself, the emails show that executives were exploring an action plan to exploit the unstable political situation in Tamil Nadu after the death of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December 2016 in favour of the DMK.

The road map titled ‘Jallikattu Hunger Strike Strategy’ lays out several strategies through which DMK could capitalise on the simmering anger amongst the youth against the ban on jallikattu to build the image of DMK president M.K. Stalin.

Image-building exercise

This image-building exercise included ‘instructing party orators to speak about DMK’s contributions to jallikattu and ‘concluding the speech with an extensive praise note for Thalapathy’.

Other strategies such as recruiting folk singer and activist Kovan of Makkal Kalai Ilakiya Kazhagam, Chinnaponnu and poet Vairamuthu to perform songs and poems in praise of jallikattu were also discussed. In an email dated December 24, 2016, an employee of the consulting firm once again writes to OMG: “In…the current political scenario, we can strategically utilise the opportunity to intensify the impact of ‘Brand Thalapathy’ statewide, especially among a majority of rural voters’. The leaked email communications also suggest that OMG was seeking ideas and plans beyond the jallikattu protests.

In an email dated February 5, 2016, the same management consulting firm writes to an OMG employee about DMK’s ‘election manifesto plans’ with regards to the ‘agriculture sector’. Asserting that the ‘political image of Mr. Stalin’ needs to be carefully realigned to be in sync with today’s young voters’, the email ends with a plea to close the ‘business deal’.

The OMG employee promises to revert soon copying Dinesh Kumar, presumably the person who is secretary to DMK president M.K. Stalin.

Talking points

In another email dated March 28, 2016, the founder of the consulting firm writes to OMG listing the wide-ranging subjects concerning the DMK party activities that would be discussed at a meeting.

The email from the consulting firm presents an extensive agenda for discussion during the meeting: management of poll strategy for ‘Legislative Assembly Election 2016’, ‘Election Manifesto’ strategy, ‘Election Campaign’ strategy, Communications strategy across multiple platforms, addressing the ‘chronic campaign orators shortfall’, ‘Candidate promotions strategy’, ‘Brand Thalapthy’, ‘Victory 234’ - an intra-party strategic initiative after the release of manifesto and few other topics.

In a document, the management consulting firm even goes on to suggest how DMK needs to tell its party cadres to be prepared to face the election even without any major alliance to show that the party is confident of fighting polls alone.

Recently, PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss charged that DMK with being run by ‘four youngsters’ who do not understand politics.

When The Hindu reached out to a few sources in OMG, none of them agreed to go on record.

A source close to Mr. Stalin said that OMG was indeed involved in running the party’s Information Technology operations. It was allegedly disbanded in 2016.

The source, while confirming that the emails were indeed true, underlined that OMG didn’t work with that particular management consulting firm which sent the emails, adding that this communication was not ‘taken seriously’ at all.

“We didn’t use their suggestions. They were ignored completely,” the source claimed. The emails were shared by Namakkaga.com.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 5:11:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/private-company-offered-to-craft-strategy-for-dmk-to-ride-on-jallikattu-protests/article26832300.ece

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