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Kamal Hassan’s defeat is neither a surprise nor a shock in Tamilnadu. In fact, even if Superstar Rajni had contested this year he would have lost massively. Why so?
The demography of the TN voters has irrevocably changed. A lot of 2k kids have been inducted into the suffrage and their political views are crystal clear. They view Rajni as an actor, not as a politician or an able administrator. Whenever there is a group discussion in a class, I was so surprised to see this argument playing out. I queried if they would vote for ‘Thala’ Ajith or ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay and they were vociferously against voting for a person just because he is a movie star.
The 2K voters want to see either a natural talent or experience for a political entry. So this is not an ageist issue. Hence, I believe that the disgusting trend of movie stars sashaying into TN politics is coming to a grinding halt without any fanfare. Kamal was/is clueless about this demography and so are North Indian media. (Yes, I dare do say that because when do you see Tamilnadu on print or TV unless otherwise a devastating natural disaster!). I was so flummoxed by the North-Indian media’s unjustified attention towards Kamalahassan who can’t even win a decent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The reason behind the rise of Udayanithi
Then, how come Udayanithi Stalin, the son of M.K.Stalin, managed to win a constituency with a massive vote share. After all, he is a Kollywood hero too. The short answer is the 2K generation is identifying itself with Udayanithi Stalin. Puzzled? Let me explain.
Stalin Jr. looks exactly like an ordinary Tamil guy who has dreams and work really hard to achieve a respectable position in the (Tamil cinema) world. His very carefully chosen movies, in which his roles as a middle-class Tamil guy are resonated with 2K kids. However, that is only about his moderate rise in the Tamil cinema world. In politics, 2K kids and millennials smell a natural talent. He is witty in Tamil, sarcastic when attacks the opposition and he lands his puns, jokes, and attacks exactly where he wanted them to land.
Difficult even for a seasoned politician. He may not be a match for the finesse of the Kanimozhi or knowledge depth of the PTR, or even the experience of Duraimurugan. He is now the face of the new, young crops of the DMK. When he took a single brick of the AIIMS and toured with it campaigning and attacking both ADMK and BJP about their promise of building an AIIMS hospital in Tamilnadu. Young Tamils received this well, there are plenty of memes which show that this is his masterstroke. One fellow teacher compared it with his grandfather’s Kallakudi laying down on a railway track stunt. In toto, Stalin Jr. has escaped the disdain of cine star and become a serious politician.
Blooming political decency
Stalin’s BonHomie moments with opposition and the circulations of such pictures and messages are another new to TN Politics. After the genuine hostility between Jayalalitha and Kalaignar Karunanidhi, 2K kids are NOT ready for the drama and political animosity.
In a recent Tamil movie ‘Varuthapadatha Valipar Sangam’, MGR-Karunanithi’s conflict was openly ridiculed and was widely received well by the public. It certainly sends a signal to the DMK/ADMK leadership that times are rapidly changing. Once the VERY reason for the DMK-ADMK split, is a joking matter for next-generation new voters. Mild-mannered 2K kids never encountered a caste bloodbath in their lifetime. In fact, Tamil Nadu is so peaceful that the Coimbatore bomb blasts are a distant memory. Even in schools, corporal punishments are a bygone era.
That’s why the 2K kids and millennials were so appalled by M.K.Stalin’s outburst and slapping on a fellow traveler in Chennai Metro rail. They have seen violence only in movie theatres and in TV serials. This may be a little exaggeration but largely true. The public outrage made Stalin reach out to the affected person and tool picture with him. That incident alone shows us the change in the nature of politics.
For 2K kids, one thing is very clear: Explicit acts of violence in politics are not acceptable. DMK leadership understood the changing waters and reciprocated them with open arms. Stalin even launched an app for DMK members to be in touch with them. For a leader who seldom sits for one-on-one interviews, he embraces Twitter, Facebook, and Mobile applications. ADMK is still stuck with decades-old, anti-DMK politics which antithetical to the new voters.
That’s the reason ADMK is losing this election despite having a better IT and social media wing. After the demise of two Dravidian stalwarts, what is remaining to feud over with?
These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.