By Cartoonist Avinash
After a long evening of supense, Tamil Nadu CM is oficially dead. The cult of Jayalaitha was on full display in these final moments when one of India's largest state came to a standstill. The extremem veneration and devotion she inspired among her followers escaped understanding for many in the north whose perception of the tamil stalwart was heavily influenced by the corruption charges against her as well as her promotion of this cult that created revulsion of many who saw it as an anathema to democracy.
But if one digs deeper, it's not so difficult to see what endeared her to millions of followers. As an administrator, her innovative schemes made life so much better for so many of our less fortunate fellow co travelers of life. Hers was an efficient administration that lived by the creed that those who have less in life should have more in law.
Jaya also broke the men's monopoly in politics. Her success in politics was rivalled by her success in film industry. She was an avante grade artist who reached the top of film industry before plunging into politics.
Now that she is dead, many among the poor will certainly feel abandoned. Politically, it spells uncertain times for AIADMK. Jaya had not allowed any alternate power centre within the party and the second line of leadership does not have either the administrative or political weight that Jaya carried. O Panneerselvam is likely to be handed the batton like he was when Jaya had to step down following her conviction. But the unity of party still can't be taken for granted as AIADMK of today resolved around cult of Jaya and with her gone, the whole dynamics changes. Her death may make AIADMK more democratic as no one will now have such unparalled power as she had. Also political future of AIADMK without the magnet of Jaya, certainly looks bleak.
Finally, in the death of JAyalaitha, India has lost a leader who stood heads and shoulder above most of her contemporaries. She was an imperfect and tarnished hero but a hero nonetheless.