Kani's 'sacrifice' to be rewarded?

Kani's 'sacrifice' to be rewarded?

These words on a glittering banner greeting the DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP and the 88-year-old party patriarch M Karunanidhi’s daughter, as she landed at the Chennai airport last week, could not have been more flattering to a beaming Kanimozhi released recently on bail in the ‘2G’ spectrum case.

When Karunanidhi’s avowed ‘literary heir’ was coming home for the first time after six months since the Tamil poetess Kanimozhi’s arrest and lodgment in Tihar jail in one of the most sensational corruption cases of our times, similar lines of adulatory verse waving her in was no political naivety.

The elocutionary import of whoever coined those slogans in the DMK, still smarting under its dismal defeat in an Assembly election in Tamil Nadu, was a clear indication that Kanimozhi has by now had her ‘political baptism by fire,’ thanks to Tihar, and that a larger political role for her both within the party and in the state’s politics is in the offing.

Cheerful homecoming

For all his depression in recent months, Karunanidhi himself sent out a signal to his partymen to cheer his home-coming ‘beloved’ daughter, if only to convey to the people at large that the ‘DMK is not without able political heirs,’ an informed source said.

Karunanidhi’s age may be pulling him down, but the party is determined on an image makeover. The confidence and the positive energy exuded by Kanimozhi herself in her first media interaction in Chennai, that she would come clean from the 2G case and that the bail was only the “first step to prove my innocence and come out of the legal tangle”, was a clear pointer that she will not chicken out of politics and will remain in the very thick of it all in the ‘Dravidian tradition’.

Kanimozhi by all accounts is ready and keen for the long haul in politics. Yet, it is only the uncertainty that goes with contingency and the wild swings of political fortunes, which prompt discerned political observers ask whether she will be DMK’s ‘martyr,’ as some posters suggested for having braved Tihar jail life, or be its ‘enigma’. If detention under the much-feared ‘MISA’ during late Mrs Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, of top DMK men, led by none other than the late ‘Murasoli’ Maran and including people like M K Stalin, was termed a political chastening that put them on an ascendancy within the party, Kanimozhi’s predicament is seen similarly after her Tihar incarceration.

But given the intense, latent power struggle within the DMK in the generation succeeding leaders like Karunanidhi and the present general secretary, Prof K Anbazhagan, Arcot N Veerasamy, Durai Murugan and the like, Kanimozhi’s transition from being ‘Kalaignar’s (as the DMK chief is widely known) favourite daughter to a political flag-bearer will not be easy.

Though Kanimozhi is being informally tipped within party circles to take up the important post of ‘headquarters principal secretary’, as the other key post of ‘propaganda Secretary’ is already held by the jailed former telecom minister, A Raja. Both her half-brothers are already clamouring for higher berths in the DMK.

Stalin, sources say, wants to be made the party’s ‘working president’, even as Azhagiri is not content with being the DMK’s south zone organising secretary. Soon, the winter of discontent may set in even as Karunanidhi indicated that any positional elevation for Kanimozhi has to be decided only by the appropriate forum of the party. If Stalin and Azhagiri, who is also the Union fertilizer minister in the UPA Government, fail to close ranks and keep flagging the ‘2G spectrum case taint’ against Kanimozhi since the trial in the case has just begun, it will then be only more of the poetess angst that will burst forth, say sources.

The ‘sacrifice’ that Kanimozhi has ostensibly done for the party in the eyes of her close kin, supporters and admirers, with her steely resolve to take jail life with equanimity, would then not take her very far politically. In such a scenario, will Kanimozhi ‘boldly do a Jayalalitha’- like when the latter emerged as a leader in her own right when cornered by AIADMK seniors- is what makes the DMK’s poetess simultaneously ‘an enigma’, the sources added.  

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