AIADMK MLAs don’t have to ask, just look at them and you would know if they’re talking to an enemy camper. Their shirt pockets got a new bling last week.
Till 5 December 2016, the laminated rectangles tucked into all male MLAs’ pockets remained constant— a loyalty badge with a hint of green showing through their translucent white cotton shirts, J Jayalalithaa’s picture in the foreground with a tiny blip of MGR on the far left. Now, it is a new laminated calling card after the party’s vertical split — VK Sasikala picture with a Jaya inset.
Barely a week after Jaya’s death last December, Sasikala’s pictures rose up on hoardings and in the little pictures inside AIADMK MLAs’ shirt pockets. However, very few of these hoardings with the Chinnamma’s pictures are intact. Many have a portion of her face torn or smeared with cowdung pies.
It’s hard to say who tears up the hoardings but the AIADMK white shirt-veshti uniform helps identify camp-shifters with ease.
Soon after Amma’s death, similar sights played out at Poes Garden with Sasikala instead of Jaya being in front of the senior most AIADMK functionaries and even the police prostrating flat before her.
These are traditions that have come to be associated with Jayalalithaa’s reign in Tamil Nadu - how low do you bow when you present her with a bouquet? Do you give her the bouquet and then touch her feet or just bow low enough? Is your shirt pocket transparent enough for Jaya to be able to see herself in a rectangular space close to your heart?
None of this is officially put down in any manual nor has Jaya ever said anything to that effect but the late chief minister seemed okay with all the fuss.
Sasikala, having spent long years with Jaya, has obviously watched all this from close quarters. Considering she has never won an election, however small, or even campaigned, Sasikala probably believes that carrying forward some of these sycophant traditions, dressing in green like Jaya and keeping her hair neater may help her blend in.
“I am the true heir of Amma’s legacy,” she claims.
But Jayalalithaa never had to lock up MLAs in faraway resorts with thugs on watchman duty to vote for her.
“Let her release all these MLAs and let them roam free. Then we can accept that these people truly support her. Look at our numbers. They may be less but we are free. We are not under lock and key,” says the OPS camp on Sasikala’s methods.
In a week’s time, this too will pass. The Supreme Court verdict will be out, the floor test will eventually get done, the arc lights will switch back to Uttar Pradesh elections, but Jaya’s loyalists, who backed her in the 2016 elections and watched the OPS-Sasikala drama, are thinking what a veshti of their vote which was for neither of these people, and “certainly not for her (Sasikala).”
“Semma comedy, madam. Unmai jeikanom… (It’s terribly funny…We hope the truth will win),” they say.
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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2017 12:14:58 IST