Will the incumbent deliver all the promises?
A new Chief Minister and a new phase of leadership. Tamil Nadu is about to step into another regime of AIADMK. It remains to be seen if after an intense political mayhem, the State would perform as usual, or if the rule this time would be a growth decadent.
For decades, TN has been ruled subsequently by two popular political parties, with not a single seat or constituency of the centrally ruling BJP. Despite this, the state progresses more than the average registered progress of India. Does TN resemble the notion of fewer political parties being more effective in delivering and less on seeking political gains? Tamil Nadu has seen prosperity on its side more than other states for a prolonged period. Two leading parties, the DMK and the ADMK have been influential in moving mass votes since 1963, until which the Congress party ruled the state. The state remained ahead in the gross domestic production at 7.94% than the national average of 4.94%. Similarly, in 2013-14 its manufacturing sector growth rate was at 3.53%, higher than the national average of 0.71%. These numbers are impressive, in that they deem more employment, funds for social welfare schemes, and stronger financial muscle to offer tax exemptions to attract investments. Above all, the parties are bent on prioritizing socially inclusive growth and evenly spread economic gains, which remains the cornerstones of TN’s growth.
Only two large political parties, is a novel situation effecting lack of possible blame transfer during crisis. This also calls for less confusion among voters, who gets to analyse not in haste but by measuring performance on pure criterion. Less number of parties can be both advantageous and disadvantageous. There are strong inclinations for the two parties to work in tandem thereby leaving scarce possibility of exposing individual and mutual corruption, and to work in aggressive opposition to each other by outworking and out-delivering individual promises to attract votes. Two parties in real opposition that are ethically and morally inclined is the ideal situation for citizens.
There are sharp and visible differences between TN and other states in their strategies. Competing states like Gujarat and Maharashtra adopts an economically aggressive culture. Social inclusion as primary agenda, TN parties practices a thriving freebie and low cost scheme- culture such as free Wi-Fi, free gold for the marrying girl child, smartphones, kitchen stoves, table fans, marriage halls, salt, laptops, and other provisions. But, does that not mean simply buying votes for freebies? How can such a culture contribute to gross domestic happiness, economic progress included? These concerns remain somewhat controversial, as freebies are often served to the poor who, lacking the means of assessment, are led to favouritism. Populism has worked wonders for political parties.
After Jayalalitha’s demise, a wave of change is sensed due to rising ambiguity and uncertainty about the incumbent. The freebie culture may not be discarded yet, but with the ruling BJP trying to spread its influence, the existing vacuum in leadership in TN has got everyone thinking differently about the future of the state. If not anything, the state is set to experience interesting times, especially for the dominant Dravidian parties and the way they espouse a renewed identity.
TN parties have been practicing identity politics, and through the freebie programs they register their promise deliverance. Doubts remain if the parties and now the new leader, can deliver when competitiveness becomes the chief criterion. The state has more number of industries and industrial labour than any other, but that also enhances its chance of remaining a labour-rich state. An otherwise socially egalitarian society, TN suffers from bigger unperceived threats of an undemocratic culture of wooing votes through freebies that can habitually trap its citizens’ trust. Leaders and leadership tactics may not change, but enhancement in lifestyles can come from only building ground-level incomes, and not creating a cloud of misapprehensions.