Tamil Nadu gets set for another round of holiday resort-based politics with the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader and MLA T.T.V. Dinakaran moving all the former MLAs of his party to a swanky hotel in a tourist town in southern Tamil Nadu.
The MLAs were disqualified by the Assembly Speaker last year under questionable provisions. They were moved to a resort in Courtallam, more than 600 km from Chennai, on October 22 as the judgment in the disqualification case is to be delivered soon. A single judge of the Madras High Court had reserved orders in the case on August 31.
The first round of resort politics was the drama surrounding the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government and its various factions when former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s friend Sasikala ordered all ruling party MLAs into a resort on the outskirts of Chennai in February 2017.
The critical difference between the first round of holding MLAs in a resort and the second is stark. In the first round, Sasikala, who is now serving time in a Bangalore jail after being held guilty of abetting corruption and embezzlement, had genuine concerns about the loyalty of many of her party MLAs. The party literally detained all its MLAs and Ministers in order to make sure that they did not move over to the dissident camp of former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
The present round is different because all the ex-MLAs have been steadfast his supporters, which is why they were disqualified in the first place. One source said the MLAs could be targets of kidnapping. This was apparently the “immediate reason” to move them to the resort. The fact that the resort is far away from Chennai and is run by someone that TTV is very confident of may be reasons enough to believe that this is part of a well-scripted plan.
This, in essence, is Dinakaran’s style of functioning, which was evident in the byelection in R.K.Nagar constituency, in the manner in which he has built a party from scratch, and in the methods he employed to secure the loyalty of the AIADMK’s local leaders. Dinakaran, obviously, has clearly defined ideas of the way forward, and resort politics is just one of them.