Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Amma" always knows the best - Shobhaa De on Jayalalithaa.


Jaya ho: Why Amma always knows best






Let's hand it to Amma – she is nothing if not a force of nature . J Jayalalithaa , with her calm, Buddha-like expression and slow, measured speech, is a phenomenon in the murky world of desi politics. And-... trumpets! Bugles! The Caped Wonder from Tamil Nadu is back in the game once more. With her entrée , the stakes have suddenly gotten sexier.

Written off, diminished and lying low for a while, she made a dramatic reappearance in the political arena by offering an exclusive interview to Arnab Goswami on Times Now. If her calibrated quotes were designed to cause major ripples in Delhi, they scored big, with partners in the UPA's assorted breadbasket scrambling for cover. Ostensibly, Amma was after scam meister 2G Raja's head. But was that her main and only objective? Analysts think not. 

The 2G scam has been around for a while. Amma had refused to get drawn into it at that stage. Raja brazened it out and laughed all the way to various banks, even as his critics thought the nation had been diddled out of close to two lakh crore rupees.

It is a number most people would find next to impossible to fathom. How much those 122 licences issued during the auction could have fetched, or should have fetched, remains in the domain of conjecture. By demanding his sacking at this critical point (when the Congress party is sweeping its stables clean of notably corrupt netas), Amma caused a mini quake. 

Her serene and controlled demeanour as she outlined her plan to save the UPA and India from a possible mid-term poll, was perhaps this ex-actor's most convincing performance to date. Not a muscle moved on her face as she went through her game plan without emotion, listing out her reasons for going public with her outrage.

She spoke impassively while expertly crunching numbers and assuring everybody she could produce the 18 MPs needed to fill the gap if the DMK withdrew support to the UPA. She refused to reveal the identity of the 'friendly parties' on stand-by , but it was abundantly clear Amma was on a roll! And there are very few politicians left who can match Jayalalithaa in full flow. She speaks eloquently and with complete authority that does not tolerate a single interruption (for once, the garrulous Goswami was rendered speechless).

She refused to be cornered on any issue, including the prickly one involving her far from cordial relationship with Sonia Gandhi (Amma's response was mild and philosophical ). Jayalalithaa stayed resolutely focused on corruption – mega corruption --and didn't shy away from naming names (Ashok Chavan, Suresh Kalmadi). The message got through -- when Amma means business, watch out! 

What was remarkable about Jayalalithaa's scintillating interview (monologue is more like it) was the politically incorrect content she opted for. Blunt. To the point. Refreshingly outspoken, she delivered punches that were perfectly on target. Her bombshells had very little to do with Raja per se. This was Amma telling her admirers and opponents she's done with sulking in the shadows and licking her wounds. She's done with being pushed around and marginalized in her own state. And most importantly, she's done with being petulant vis a vis the Madam in Delhi.





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