27 July, 2021

JJ & Her Technicolor Cape

The regent of Poes Garden returns, using her understanding of electoral arithmetic and the confusion in her opponents' ranks

Prakash Singh/HT
JJ & Her Technicolor Cape
Tamil Nadu has done it again. While pollsters and political pundits alike were expecting an aiadmk win, the magnitude of that win came as a complete surprise. Within an hour of counting beginning on May 13 it became clear that Jayalalitha was back with a bang and that those who were predicting a photo-finish had got it wrong. Outside the Puratchi Thalaivi's Poes Garden residence, jubilant supporters danced with joy. The sycophants were there in good numbers saying that god had heard their prayers—Amma was back.

And yet it was these very voters who'd prevented her motorcade from entering their localities in the build-up to the 1996 elections. Jayalalitha was then the arch villain, Karunanidhi the hero. But by 2001, perceptions changed. Either public memory is short or the voters angry with the dmk government had chosen to punish him by rallying around a woman who has 12 shocking cases of corruption against her and who was disqualified by the Election Commission from contesting.

All the pre-election opinion polls indicated that corruption was not an issue for the...

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