by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Have Rajiv killers taken down another Prime Minister


Of all the daring moves ever, the one by the Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalithaa to free the convicted LTTE terrorists must take the podium.  But this post is not a rebuke critique of the Supreme Court judgement on the Rajiv Gandhi killers, for that article needs to await its time. 

This article is also not about the 4 or 8 Tamil terrorists whose actions cost the life of a former Prime Minister (and the prospective PM in 1991) and *not* to forget - 17 (14 by some accounts) other people who also died in the bombing.

What this is about is  the impact of Jayalalithaa’s decision to release the convicts, which from reports in Junior Vikatan and/or Kumudam, and opinions on the world wide web, is seen to be a political move and nothing else.

It is understood as a very calculated political move to create a division between the main opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, and prevent them from coming together in a mega-coalition.

The cynical outlook is that Jayalalithaa aims to secure a majority of the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.  Once her party has 30 plus Members in the 16th Lok Sabha, she hopes to make her pitch for the chair of Prime Minister of India.

I believe, in this, she miscalculated.  Just as she miscalculated after the Tamil Nadu Legislature elections (2011) in booting out the Vijayakanth led DMDK from her coalition, she has probably shot her bolt at the wrong moment.  [If she had not kicked out Vijayakanth in 2011, she need not have worried about the mega-coalition today.]

Over the last couple of days, the murmurs between her sympathizers has been sensitive towards the assassinated former Prime Minister, and not towards the Rajiv Killers.  True, some of her party diehards are willing to find fault with the Congress - but that is for *not* hanging the killers earlier - and not for the continued imprisonment of the terrorists.

If that is the sentiment among Jayalalithaa’s sympathizers, and probably many in Tamil Nadu, I am afraid to think of the impression in other states.

Even worse, I think she has taken hold of the wrong end of the stick.  For if she cannot push through the release of the terrorists before the elections, the Tamil chauvinists would turn on her in a blink of an eye.  Far worse, she could be painted as a bumbling, unthinking leader, who wrecked the chances of the terrorists' release, by Karunanidhi and company.

OTOH, if she manages to set the terrorists free, she would forever be the leader who cannot be trusted with the leadership of the 'Indian Nation'.  Far worse, she would have dealt an ace in the hands of the Congress - to have a full play on the sympathy card.  The congress may be routed in Tamil Nadu, but recompensed handsomely in other states.  I doubt even Narendra Modi would have an answer to a crying tearful Priyanka Gandhi!

So, it looks like the Prime Minister aspirations of Jayalalithaa are in troubled waters.  The Rajiv Killers have put paid to the aspirations of one more prospective PM.  Whichever way the cookie crumbles, it promises a fantastic study of politics.



(image courtesy Rob Tornoe @ poynter.org)

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