ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Dravidian Parties' New Travails

What changes will Jayalalithaa's conviction bring in Tamil Nadu politics?

For nearly five decades, the two Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu – the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its offshoot, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) – have dominated politics and governed alternatively in the state. Does the present crisis of leadership of both these parties presage an unravelling of the near perfect model of patronage politics that has sustained them all these years?

Just a few months after a convincing win in the Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK leader and state chief minister,J Jayalalithaa, has been convicted in a 15-year-old case about acquiring disproportionate assets and having unknown sources of income when in office during 1991-96. Unless Jayalalithaa’s conviction is overturned by a higher court, she now stands barred from electoral politics for 10 years. Considering that all authority and leadership in the AIADMK has always been vested completely in her, there is a question mark about the AIADMK’s ability to survive this setback over the medium term.

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