If you happen to meet Mr. A. Raja, our honourable telecom minister, and ask him if he knew how many zeroes were there in 1.77 lakh crore, he wouldn’t tell you. He might ask his security people to rough you up but the reason he will not answer is not because he would feel indignant, but because he would actually not know the answer. The magnitude of his 2 G scam is such that even the perpetrator gets floundered by the sheer power of figures.
Amidst all hobnobbing about monetary figures, another figure of immense importance has started to raise its neck above the troubled waters - The electoral figure of majority - that magical number of 272. Congress were shameless and forthright when they pulled the plug from the ventilator for Kalmadi and Ashok Chavan. The fact that both were from their own party helped in their decision making. But with A. Raja they are in a sticky situation. Some might call it gum – ‘A Raja Gum’. 18 MP seats lie in that old wrinkled lap of the Tamil Nadu chief minister and unflinching supporter of A. Raja. He doesn’t need to make a statement proclaiming threats with respect to those seats. It is already implied. That is the reason why Jayalalitha’s statement offering open support to the congress in case of any coalition fall out is one of the shrewdest political statements ever made in the recent past. By giving out such an offer she has opened up 2 possible political scenarios.
First, a political fall back in the TN assembly poll scenario. A brief look at the current TN assembly composition tells us that the 36-MLA-Strong congress holds the trumps in the TN coalition government. Jayalalitha’s statement offering support shows us how well the veteran has played the numbers game. She has been brave enough to go against the ideologies and sentiments of her allies in TN (CPI, CPM and MDMK, all three of who are open critics of the Congress). They make up a measly number of 17 MLAs which she might not even lose once the settlements are done. Even if she does lose them it only further widens the distribution of the vote bank as all three parties are unlikely to ally with DMK.
This scenario, though, is likely to happen only if congress considers Jaya’s olive branch. What if they don’t?
This scenario is, again, favourable to AIADMK. The congress’s current clacking about TN house being full and Jaya’s offer being a desperate attempt at restoring lost stronghold in the TN assembly is just an initial show of bravado. Even if it does abide by its stand, there is no question of the fact that it faces serious pressure to terminate Raja as a cabinet minister or force him to step down. This offer by Jayalalitha comes in the exact nick of time that she can proclaim it to have instigated the reaction from Congress. This will serve as a DMK image tarnishing tool during her campaign for the 2011 assembly polls.
By going after A. Raja, initiating opposition and people frenzy and putting out an unconditional offer to the ruling party, Jaya has indeed set the cat amongst the pigeons. What answers do the rulers (or, should we say, ruler) in 10, Janpath have?