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A Chennai Overture

A Chennai Overture

Jaya’s invitation to Modi dispels an ‘untouchability’ myth

A Chennai Overture Illustration by Sorit

One factor pertaining to the recent assembly elections that every analyst has commented upon is the virtual eclipse of the Left, particularly in West Bengal, which a Left coalition ruled for 34 years without a break. As for Tamil Nadu, the focus has been on how the people have cut the DMK and the Karunanidhi family to size. Lost in the hullabaloo over the rout of the DMK and the Left is J. Jayalalitha’s invitation to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to her swearing-in ceremony, a recognition of his growing stature both within the BJP and outside it. Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, it must be remembered, has the Left parties as its allies in the Tamil Nadu assembly, and for the Left, Modi is like a red rag. But she has preferred to ignore this, and invited Modi even though the BJP was not her ally and had in fact fought the Tamil Nadu elections on its own.

Thanks to massive development work in Gujarat, inclusive growth in all important sectors and industrial and social peace during the last 10 years, Modi has emerged as an icon for those seeking to free the country from family rule (by proxy) at the Centre. Many political analysts believe a BJP led by Modi can romp home with 200-odd Lok Sabha seats. And Jayalalitha’s small gesture has shattered the myth, assiduously built up by vested interests, that a Modi-led BJP won’t get the support of regional parties to cobble up a majority at the Centre.

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