Chennai, Apr 21(tamilnaducentral): As many theories are afloat about the EPS-OPS-Sasikala groups’ battles, a significant development is that the days of a single leader taking decisions in AIADMK is over. Hypothetically, even if Sasikala asserts her position as general secretary of the AIADMK, she cannot take unilateral decisions like Jayalalithaa did. She will be at the mercy of the many power groups within the party.
The Dravidian movement had from the beginning never been leader centric. The movement threw up many leaders who were equally popular with the masses. The movement was not identified with one leader like in the Congress. As Periyar married a young woman and named her as his political heir, Annadurai walked out to form DMK. Even Annadurai, founder of DMK after assuming power spread out the decision making to the leaders and did not run the party all by himself. Navalar Nedunchezhiyan, Karunanidhi, C P Sitarasu, Mathiazhagan, Anbazhagan and NVN were part of the decision-making process. It was due to this that DMK survived even after death of Annadurai, say analysts.
In 1969, Karunanidhi headed the DMK. The first sign of family dominated politics started with Karunanidhi fielding his son-in law Murasoli Maran at the North Madras seat that fell vacant due to the death of Annadurai. He got Rajaji an ally (Swatantra party) to announce the candidature. After that, the sons of Karunanidhi, daughter and Marans came to occupy key posts in DMK. The fact that Stalin and Murasoli Maran have undergone many a hardship for the DMK cannot be overlooked.
MGR started his AIADMK. Though he did not have children, he never allowed the family of his wife Janaki to dabble in party politics or have anything to do with governance. Though he gave Jayalalithaa key posts, he never announced that she was his heir. In an interview to Simi Garewal, Jayalalithaa said that she too followed her mentor’s policy and left the people to decide who should lead the party after her death.
As the struggle as to who will lead the party continues, one thing has been clear that there is not going to be one charismatic leader and his/her family being named heirs. OPS’s son does not have any link with the masses, nor does EPS family. The party will have to shun the convention of general secretary also being the CM and be the last word. It will move towards a politburo kind of functioning, say analysts.