14 May, 2021

A Funereal De Ja Vu In ­December

The AIADMK’s obits are being written again, 29 years after MGR’s death. The party survived the last time, but can it repeat the feat?

A Funereal De Ja Vu In ­December

Watching J. Jayalalitha’s last jou­rney was nothing short of deja vu! Twenty-nine years ago, the body of her mentor M.G. Rama­chandran (MGR) was kept for public view at the same heritage venue of Rajaji Hall in Chennai. The last ­journey, then too, had headed to the same venue on Mar­ina beach nearby. The milling crowds were no different either. Men and women from the ­lowest strata of Tamil society, most of them silently ­weeping and several crying aloud, bidding farewell to their demigods.

In 1987, when MGR died, most of the media wrote the funeral notes for the party he foun­ded. He did not name a successor for the posts he held in the party and the government. There was no second line leadership in the AIADMK ­comparable to the next big party, the DMK. And, more particularly, the media then thought there was no one to match MGR’s charisma and mass appeal from within the AIADMK. “After him, the deluge!” was the verdict of the media then.

There were factions within the AIADMK that tried to destroy each other...

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