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Is DMK loosing out due to High Expectations?

I clearly remember the 1996 elections when the hype was DMK winning the elections on the promise of clean & people friendly Government. Jayalalitha’s 1st term as CM had been a bad experience for many to a major extent due to the display of raw use of power & perceived corruption (highlighted by SunTV in particular). DMK was expected to be good for the state and be a corruption free Government. People had great expectations in 1996.

Similarly in 2006 when Karunanidhi won, he was given a pompous welcome into the Secretariat by the staff. Jayalalitha had been tough with the Government Servants (personally feel it was good to be tough with them given their arrogance attitude towards public) & Karunanidhi was seen as a saviour.

An image of “good” was created for Karunanidhi. Karunanidhi is seen as a soft approachable & reasonable person. This image has helped both Karunanidhi & DMK is tough times. DMK Government has promised a lot, with most schemes being populistic schemes aimed at pleasing the public.

The general feeling in the last 2 decades has been that Karunanidhi is better than Jayalalitha on governance. But surprisingly they lost the 2001 elections having won the 1996 elections with the promise of good & transparent government. Did they not achieve it? The election manifestos & press releases blare out achievements after achievements of the DMK Government, so why did they loose out in 2001, that too to a party lead by a person who has been perceived as highly corrupt?

One reason can be that DMK has created this “image” but at the ground level it is no different from AIADMK or even worse. DMK has been able to do so considering it has the SUN TV & other media (newspapers/magazines) in it’s control. DMK has never lost an opportunity to promote even the smallest of the schemes and at the same time highlight the wrong-doings of AIADMK & other parties that are it’s opponents. It has helped DMK is that it is part of Central Government thereby first denying AIADMK from implementing major projects that require Central Clearance and later announcing projects (some which it opposed before) when it was in power.

Also DMK has been dramatic in turning the topic of the moment to it’s advantage. But over time, some of the dramas have been laid bare as crocodile tears – esp. on the Sri Lankan Tamil Issues & the Killing of the fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy.

It is interesting to see what awaits DMK in the upcoming elections given it’s enormous money power.

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