Coming from a self-styled, self-proclaimed political commentator this is a little late in the day — two weeks after the polls. But here is my two bit post-mortem of the three main reasons for DMK's victory:
1. Colour TV sets: This one captured the people's imagination very effectively. Rice @ 2 Rs. per kilo is now a hygiene factor in most Indian elections — or at least in the areas where rice is the staple food — so no longer a differentiator. Liquor in any case is always an unannounced bounty. So for the sheer incredulity of coming up with a scheme, that was innovatively bizarre and yet reasonably above-board, you have to give it to M Karunanidhi (MK). Any other counter-scheme announced by the others was just a 'me-too' effort. Trust me the only scheme that could have topped this free TV scheme could have been two TV sets free!
2. Yellow shawl: No not for any astrological or super-natural reasons, but for the plain 'visual identity' factor. That's like the red of Coca Cola; the red and blue of Pepsi; the whatever colour of whatever brand you take. And the yellow of Kalaingar! So for every 100 pictures of J.Jayalalitha (JJ), and 100 pictures of Karunanidhi, the yellow visual cue makes a greater number of impressions on the audience cognition than the drabness of JJ's bullet-proof ponchos. In good old advertising jargon — reach and frequency being the same, the yellow shawl makes a bigger impact!
3. Sons and nephews: JJ was fighting a lonely battle. No sons, no nephews, no kith and no kin. For DMK on the other hand, while MK was the most accepted face, Stalin and Dayanidhi Maran were also becoming talking points. Perhaps not too many were convinced that this generation-next of DMK was good enough — but as long as these two were being discussed it was occupying top of mind space. The next best that JJ had was Vaiko — who made people remember and conclusively believe in that old and crude cliché — all fart, no shit!
Caste is passé. Religion is passé. Regionalism is passé. Linguistic chauvinism is passé. Long live these peddlers of dreams!
Meanwhile the dynamics at the Centre could change a little, with the DMK now strong in the state as well.
Watch a recent episode of double-take on NDTV