Assessment | Dravidian politics: From revolutionising strategies to using the services of strategists


In Tamil Nadu exactly where charismatic leaders have dominated politics, it is weird that the present-day excitement is all over the exit of a powering-the-screens male from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Sunil Konelelu, the poll strategist of DMK president M.K. Stalin for about 4 years, has resigned.

The founder of One particular Head Generation (OMG) Exploration Foundation is credited with scripting the 2015-16Nammaku Naame(We for us) roadshow that saw Mr. Stalin swap his white shirt and red-and-black-bordered dhoti with colourful modern-day attire and experience the bicycle and bullock cart. He had beforehand labored with Prashant Kishor managing Narendra Modi’s 2014 national marketing campaign. The DMK has now turned to Mr. Kishor to switch the tide in its favour in the 2021 Assembly elections that could see actor Rajinikanth strike the campaign path in his quest for Main Ministership.

Display screen charisma

This proves a lot water has flowed down the Cauvery because the time when crowds would queue up to buy tickets to attend meetings dealt with by DMK founder C.N. Annadurai and M. Karunanidhi, Mr. Stalin’s father, who hailed from the delta that is irrigated by the Cauvery. Dravidian bash leaders had revolutionised the art of political propaganda, awakening the masses with their sharp, strong and socially relevant dialogues. Actors this sort of as M.G. Ramachandran and S.S. Rajendran applied their display charisma to propagate DMK ideologies. The former ultimately emerged as a person of the most charismatic and effective leaders of Tamil Nadu.

When in the facts era, leaders have to reinvent themselves and obtain progressive means to connect with the younger voters, choosing celebrated election strategists may well not be a guaranteed shot recipe for political achievements. For all the model setting up all over him, Mr. Stalin on numerous instances fumbles on points and is found seeking in exhibiting the right human body language.

TheNamakku Naamecampaign and social media engagement no doubt brought Mr. Stalin closer to people of unique walks of lifestyle in the nook and corner of the Point out. But its achievement was constrained to making the DMK the biggest-ever Opposition occasion in the annals of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 2016. In distinction, previous Tamil Nadu Main Minister Jayalalithaa, who was most likely the only significant chief to keep off social media, relied on her standard campaign power and retained power. She reversed the pattern of the DMK and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) remaining alternatively elected to govern since 1989.

In the same elections, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss engaged a strategist who came up with the catchy ‘Maatram, Munnetram, Anbumani’ (modify, development, Anbumani) phrase to challenge him as a deserving political replacement to Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. Mr. Anbumani campaigned like an evangelist and nevertheless the PMK’s vote share was confined to five.36%. He himself shed in Pennagaram, an Assembly constituency that falls in the Dharmapuri Parliamentary seat from wherever he won only two decades before.

2nd line leaders, who have their ears to the floor, normally complain that political brand promoters arrive in the way of speaking with their leaders and end up forming a coterie, a function over and above what they had been hired for. What leaders do not realise is that although bash functionaries will keep on being with them, the strategists would have no qualms even in working with a political rival on a parallel approach. Leaders in some cases are likely to take political choices that are absent from fact dependent on what the strategists explain to them. Mr. Stalin’s tweet hailing the filmAsuranand its information on ‘panchami’ land in the midst of the recent byelection in the caste polarised Vikravandi Assembly seat and the consequent attempt to remember to the Vanniyars, both equally of which backfired, have been evidently completed at the behest of his hired advisers.

External strategists with no roots in active politics can only aid develop a chief as a brand name and come up with a campaign that is on the lips of the individuals. To impact voters positively, leaders might have to rely on their charisma and their internal organisational machinery.

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