The method behind Jaya's haste 'madness'

First off the blocks in TN with candidates, manifesto, and hitting campaign trail soon, Jayalalithaa has a gambit in store – get the numbers, and stall the disproportionate assets case against her, say political pundits in Chennai

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | February 28, 2014



Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa celebrated her 66th birthday on February 24. She also announced her party’s candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry constituency.

If you thought that’s done ahead of time – and you could be right, for her main opponent in the state, the DMK, and the others, including the Congress, BJP and DMDK, are still struggling with the game of hunting allies – Jayalalithaa released the party manifesto for general elections only a day later. She is set to hit the campaign trail on March 3 and will be on a month-long electioneering mode till April 5.

So why is ‘Amma’, as Jayalalithaa is popularly called in Tamil Nadu, in such a hurry? According to political experts, this is a way to stall the upcoming date with court in the Rs 66.65-crore disproportionate assets case, which has reached its final stage at a special court in Bangalore. The theory going around in the state is, she can be disqualified if the judgment comes anytime now. Sources and political observers in Chennai are of a view that Jayalalithaa can tell the election commission as an excuse that it is election time and then then remain busy with campaigning.

This way, experts say, she can waive off her presence in the court, thereby leading to a delay in the verdict.  

The next gambit, many say, would be to get as close to the seat of power as is possible. While AIADMK’s aim for a clean sweep may be a dream too big, many are forecasting anything between 30 and 35 seats for her party in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, given the disarray main opposition DMK, the Congress and the BJP are in. Jayalalithaa is expected to allot a seat or two each to the CPI and the CPI(M), having recently concluded an electoral pact with the two Left parties a few weeks ago.

With the AIADMK manifesto talking ‘national’, many expect her to have a big say in the next government – she could be the PM candidate for the third front idf the regional parties put up a good show, with the Left Front, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda having reportedly given their assurance that shje is their PM candidate.

Alternatively, experts say, she could go with the NDA if the BJP-led alliance comes up with the numbers or gets periliously close to it. Her friendship with Narendra Modi is seen as the trump card in such a scenario.

And once she is in the seat of power in New Delhi, or is close to it, the disproportionate assets case would take care of itself, so to speak, as the speculation in Chennai goes.

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