It is interesting to note the reactions to Jayalalitha's arrest. The usual protests by AIADMK supporters, and the discussion of the law and order problem is of course present; but they are anyway to be expected.
Whenever a big political figure is threatened with arrest or conviction, there is always the threat that their lawless supporters will cause a total breakdown of normal life. No one managed to do anything to Bal Thackeray in his lifetime, and whenever a figure like Jaya is involved there is always discussion of what their "cadres" might end up doing. This is a threat that is held out whenever these people are involved, and the political figures themselves encourage their supporters in this. At some level they behave as if they are above the law and not accountable to anyone; and messing around with them will interrupt normal life for everyone. This shows contempt for the law and it is a not too subtle attempt at blackmail.
It is felt that AIADMK may have to become "closer" to the ruling BJP dispensation at the centre, to mitigate or reverse some of the fallout. Politics is all about this, of course. There are several cases pending in various courts, and several possible cases lying under cover in various forums, and several instances of corruption with proof that can be brought to light. These are not used by the politicians and the powers that be to cleanse corruption from the system, but rather to blackmail each other, thus maintaining a delicate balance of blackmail and counter blackmail. One wonders where Jaya went wrong in this game. If she were savvy enough, the chargesheet would have been full of holes, and the prosecution lawyers incompetent, the witnesses would be contradicting themselves and turning hostile, some of them could have even made an early trip to meet their maker, and the case would have been riddled with holes worse than a swiss cheese in such way that no judge could have handed out any conviction. However, in all this weakening of the case, there would be enough solid evidence still available with someone to nail the person in future, the proverbial sword of Damocles which always hangs by a thread but is not supposed to snap. Of course, this is just a special court. There are several layers of appeals possible – all these could still happen if Jaya plays her game well.
If it is a way of cutting its potential threats down to size, then it is a masterstroke from the BJP. It is rumored that the Saradha case is being used to keep Mamata in check. There are cases pending against Mulayam and Maya which could turn nasty; no doubt their emissaries would be reaching out to the centre to fix things before they turn nasty. All kinds of electoral and political considerations will come into play in deciding on the quid pro quo.
It is also true, say commentators, that DMK will get a shot in the arm with this verdict. Not because they are honest. No, everyone knows no one is. It helps them to prove to the TN public that the other person is equally bad; after Kanimozhi and Raja they badly needed this.
They are discussing which puppet Jaya will seat on the throne while she is away, and already talking about how she will rule her empire from jail. When Ram went to exile, Bharat ruled in his place keeping Ram's slippers on the throne, refusing to sit on the throne himself. Ram went for noble reasons, and he didn't interfere in the kingdom from his vanvas, but that is hardly the point. We have our own traditions to guide us; when the leader is in exile, or jailed, his / her puppet will rule. The last time around, Panneerselvan apparently refused to sit on the CM's chair when he was playing the role; I am not even sure if Rabri Devi stepped out of her kitchen to tend to her state. Akhilesh is slightly better – he is a younger puppet with a better accent.
In all this, the point to really note, is that no one is lamenting the fact that she is corrupt. No one is talking about cleaning up the system. There is no mention of sweeping the stables clean and starting afresh. There is no figure with a high moral standing who is an alternative to any of these people. Everyone is talking about how she is now in trouble because she got convicted, meaning of course, she was stupid enough to leave enough evidence lying around. No one is talking about how shocked they are that their leader let them down, no one seems to have been disillusioned that their leader is proven to be corrupt.
We know all that. There is nothing this case tells us that we don't know. Disproportionate assets? Of course. We would be extremely disappointed with our leader if she were still poor. We only look up to people with wealth and power. Either we worship them after they become wealthy, doesn't matter how, like Jaya, or we make them wealthy because we worship them, like Lord Balaji. That is the moral compass of this nation. We should be proud.
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