As leaders go, while Modi’s visits to the state will be watched with curiosity, Rahul will need to be dislodged from the popular consciousness — Tamil Nadu is one state where he’s present, notes Aditi Phadnis. IMAGE: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with DMK Youth Wing Secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin. Tamil Nadu has seen several decades of imperial politics. M G Ramachandran and M Karunanidhi acted and wrote scripts for the underclass. But they were remote figures, to whom ordinary people had no access. Jayalalithaa even more so. All these leaders controlled a strong party system and they pulled organisational levers to get it to work for them. When in government, the bureaucracy was a trusted ally. There was a certain cachet to being unavailable and aloof. It added mystique to leadership. This is now changing, somewhat. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam comes from a well-known Theni family of agriculturists and moneylenders, and in Periyakulam, his area of influence, he is well-regarded as a person to whom you can still go if you need help. E Palaniswami, the chief minister, rose to his position with the support of V K Sasikala although he sources his strength from the Edappadi constituency in Salem,… Read full this story
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