National

Politically Dynamic Year For TN Culminating In Poll Mode

The year 2022 appears to have favoured the political fortunes of the ruling DMK

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin
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The year 2022 appears to have favoured the political fortunes of the ruling DMK, which saw the third-generation politician in the M Karunanidhi family - Udhayanidhi Stalin - getting elevated as a state minister while the political fortunes of the opposition AIADMK was in retrograde marked by gross mudslinging, opportunism and disunity.
        
The once back-bencher of Tamil Nadu politics - the BJP - emerged as a significant player hogging the limelight. The saffron party emerged as a vociferous critic of the DMK, donning the role of the principal opposition party much to the indignant AIADMK, which crossed all limits for a rapprochement among the warring factions.
        
The October 23 Coimbatore car explosion in a communally sensitive area in the city, which witnessed deadly serial blasts in 1998 coinciding with BJP veteran LK Advani's visit, created a scare before the state government handed over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
        
At least four personalities- K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam - both former Chief Ministers - and expelled V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinarakan-, projected themselves as leaders carrying on the legacy of AIADMK founder, the late chief minister M G Ramachandran and late J Jayalalithaa.
        
But in reality, post Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and Dhinakaran have become insignificant to the dominant faction of the AIADMK led by its interim general secretary Palaniswami, for whom Panneerselvam too joins the troika with the two expelled leaders.
        
The die is cast for the dynamic political environment in the state to culminate to a poll mode at the year-end. A strong socialist character has been the soul of politics in Tamil Nadu where the BJP is going the extra mile by whipping up nationalism. Freebies, sugar coated as welfare measures, have been the hallmark of politics in Tamil Nadu.
        
Political rhetoric often indulged in by the DMK has helped the BJP to gain ground leaving the AIADMK to harp only on the DMK's unfulfilled poll assurances.
        
With his party confronted with a crucial ideological battle against the ruling DMK, and a disunited AIADMK frantically engrossed in leadership tussle as ally, BJP Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai hopes to cruise through politically turbulent waters to ensure the lotus blooms in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
        
He has set the goals high for the party members, mandating them to perform or give way to talented persons, who may be newcomers.
        
His analogy of accommodating new passengers if some passengers get off the bus, is seen as a warning to the party members to perform or give way to others. "It is very crucial for the party cadres to sustain the momentum built by Annamalai who has made the BJP a strong force in the state," says BJP state vice-president M Chakravarthy.
        
The Lok Sabha elections and also the 2026 Assembly polls will turn out to be a straight contest between the BJP and the DMK, he claims.
        
Stalin, who piloted the DMK combine to win 38 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 election, and also stormed to power in the state in 2021 Assembly polls, after being in the opposition for a decade, has set his eyes on winning all the 39 seats and in addition the lone Puducherry seat.
        
He is gearing up for the poll with the catchphrase: Narpathum namathe, naadum namathe, meaning "all 40 seats and state should belong to us."
        
Despite several challenges like NEET waiver and new education policy, Stalin rose to become a tall leader in Tamil Nadu politics, and has succeeded in keeping his DMK and the alliance intact.
        
A disunited AIADMK is likely to make it a cakewalk for the DMK to post a spectacular win at the hustings. A divided AIADMK may embarrass the BJP, which may think of going solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to test its electoral strength.
        
Palaniswami has closed all avenues for rapprochement with Panneerselvam, whom he accused of rendering the AIADMK dysfunctional.
        
"Without the Two Leaves symbol, the AIADMK is nothing and it would not be in a position to take on the ruling DMK in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," says Dhinakaran, general secretary of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).
        
Not only the party cadres but also the public would solidly back the leader retaining this symbol, he claimed.
        
The year also saw actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan join the Bharat Jodo Yatra of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, apparently hoping to improve his position among key political players in TN.
        
The State hogged the national headlines for the wrong reason due to the Coimbatore car explosion in October. The case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
        
The state reported about 45,000 cyber crime cases till November 2022 displaying an increasing trend in cyber crimes.
        
Tamil Nadu reported 1,368 murders till October and this is 15 per cent less than the murders reported during the corresponding period last year. Among the murders, the alleged killing of a college student at St Thomas Mount Railway Station, who was pushed in front of the train allegedly by her stalker, shook the state.
        
The Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) at Vandalur, has been rated "very good" in terms of Management Effectiveness Evaluation for Indian Zoos for 2022.
        
The state government won appreciation from various quarters for conducting the 44th Chess Olympiad at Mamallapuram in July-August.
        
The Idol Wing unit of the police cracked several cases and traced the stolen idols to international auction houses.
        
A trial court in Kumbakonam convicted international antique dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor and five of his accomplices to 10 years imprisonment in the Udayarpalayam burglary and illegal export of 19 antique idols valued over Rs 94 crore to the Art of the Past Gallery, New York, USA.
        
The Special Court Judge also imposed penalty on all the six accused – Subash Chandra Kapoor, Sanjivi Asokan, Marichamy, Packiya Kumar, Sri Ram alias Ulagu and Parthiban under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy).
        
Kapoor, a US national, was arraigned as the first accused for his alleged involvement in burgling and illegally exporting 19 antique idols totally valued above Rs 94 crore to the Art of the Past Gallery, owned by him.
        
Though coronavirus continued to circulate, people took the pandemic lightly giving a miss to face masks. Hopefully, the pandemic would fade  giving way for apprehension-free years ahead.

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