For an advanced state like Tamil Nadu, the new chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is a poor choice. Palaniswami is a long-time loyalist and hence will be shadow of VK Sasikala, who has been convicted in corruption cases and put behind bars. Obviously, the chief minister of a state of nearly 8 crore people will be now be remote controlled from the high profile cell of Bengaluru jail! Does the state proud of speaking world’s one of the longest-surviving classical languages deserve to be headed by a puppet of a ‘criminal’! Such a fall from the days of J Jayalalithaa! Notwithstanding the fact that ‘Amma’ too would have been behind bars once again had she been alive, she was undoubtedly the tallest from the South for decades.

Tamils are an advanced race. From space science to agriculture to politics, people from the community have led the country on numerous occasions. Many of them like AR Rahman have even earned fame in the world stage. They all will now have to look up to a person like Panlaniswami, only know for loyalty to Sasikala, again only known for her loyalty to Jayalithaa, and nothing else. Political experience has not come into account at all! Only loyalty matters! Can Tamil Nadu expect good governance from this government?

The politics of Tamil Nadu has never been reflective of the state and for that matter the Tamils as a whole. Right from early seventies when MG Ramachandran shot to the helm of office, the state has seen superstars and their loyalists ruling the roost. Coincidentally, the superstars had the skill or earned it over the years to survive in politics. They had been so successful that there has been an impression that if Tamil Nadu has to be ruled with stability, it has to be led by a superstar. That’s why a recent comment by sexagenarian megastar Rajinikanth remotely suggesting his interest in politics has caused turmoil in political circles of Tamil Nadu. High emotion brewed from extreme and blind loyalty to individuals – be it MGR, Jayalithaa, Karunanidhi or now Sasikala – has been the driving factor of Tamil Nadu politics. Maturity as seen among Tamils as a race is far to be seen.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on February 17, 2017)