Chennai: As news of Raja’s arrest came in, the DMK and AIADMK seemed fully prepared for it, with no disturbances to the city. Some stone throwing and disruption of bus services were reported in Perambalur, Raja’s hometown.
AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha called for the arrest of Raja in October.
Since then, her party has been on a single point agenda to simplify and explain the 2G spectrum scam to voters in Tamil Nadu. In public meetings in Tiruchi and Madurai, at street-corner meetings in Chennai, the party has been reminding voters constantly about the scam, devoid of its jargon.
“You do not really need a Jayalalitha to do that. The state is 43% urban, and a whole new educated voting generation is around now. The impact of a telecom scam is easily understood by them. Even if it isn’t, there is the basic understanding that some wrong has been done, and members of the DMK have benefited from it,” a voter, who did not want to be named, said.
V. Krishna Ananth, a lawyer and political commentator said, ”Raja is dispensable to the DMK at this point of time as he has never had any public appeal or a vote base for himself. Given that other Dalit parties have always been more active to the cause of Dalits than the
DMK, playing that card also did not seem to work. So, Raja is dispensable to the DMK now.”
Even though the DMK is expected to distance itself from Raja now, it would only be to save its alliance with the congress. ”DMK cannot afford to alienate Raja completely as the former telecom minister is too privy to the party goings on.”
“Thanks to free TV sets distributed by Kalaignar, we are well aware of the goings on in the spectrum scandal,” a voter from Madurai said.
“Even Sun TV has been faithfully reporting all the nuances of the scam!”
Krishna Ananth, however, sees another possibility. ”If Raja is not chargesheeted within 60 days, he’ll have to be released. If he’s released 60 days from now, it’ll be right at the time when the election campaign is at its peak in Tamil Nadu. That’ll only show the DMK and the Congress in positive light.”
A.R. Venkatachalapathy, a professor of social, cultural and intellectual history at the Madras Institute of Development Studies said, ”Raja has been made the scapegoat to save the face of the Congress as well as the DMK. While that might give some respite from the opposition, it is not likely to translate into votes as people already know what happened. It is not likely to lead to any sympathy votes either as the victimization is borne by raja and not the parties. At any rate, whether DMK decided to distance itself from Raja or chooses to stand by him will be crucial at this point.”