Meet PMK Leader Dr Ramadoss – Future Nobel Laureate in Political Opportunism
This blog is written by my friend and fellow blogger Mani Ramanathan and is second in the series of four he will be writing on the double standards of the political leaders from his home state of Tamil Nadu. Here he is analyzing Dr Ramadoss – the founder and chief of PMK. Read the first part about Karunanidhi here.
He is a dreadful saga in Tamil Nadu. He has already become a legendary character in folklore of Tamil Nadu politics. He is synonymous with opportunism and hypocrisy. He has immensely contributed to transform the opportunity to serve the people into a ruthless business. He is none another than Dr. Ramadoss – founder and chief of PMK! If you 'd like to know how he has monstrously grown into a legend that he is today, please read on.
In late 80's Ramadoss forayed into political arena in TN through the inception of an association called “vanniar sangam”. He claimed that the association would fight for the development of the vanniyars living in concentration in northern districts of TN. Few years down the lane, Ramadoss converted the sangam into a full-fledged political party called “paattali makkal katchi”, better known as PMK. The very first promise or rather an oath he took at the inception of the party was that he and his family members would neither contest in elections nor assume any position in any government. He should have visibly stood out among the then ruling dravidian parties that were ridden with corruption and people should have got really impressed with him.
Fifteen years later, when UPA, the alliance that PMK was part of, won the general elections in 2004, he made a tough bargain with his allies to get the lucrative health ministry for his beloved son, Mr. Anbumani Ramadoss. Political dynasty is nothing new to the democratic
Ramadoss also gets a dubious credit for rewriting the rules of engagement in a political alliance. He has changed his alliance five times in as many elections in the last decade! None could form so many different alliances on the basis of principles in such a short period unless other parties were changing their principles as often! He formed an alliance with ADMK in a BJP-led front in 1998, then switched to form an ally with DMK in a BJP-led front in 1999, then switched again back to contest with ADMK in 2001, then switched again to be an ally with DMK in 2004 and now switched again back to form an alliance with ADMK in the current election. In the mean time, he has grown from winning zero seats to six MP seats in ten years. He changes his position as quick as a day trader does in a fast-moving stock market! All he pursues is nothing but aggressive growth and an enormous wealth.
The way Ramadoss takes up an issue out of nowhere is highly dramatic and totally memoryless. Once Mr. Ramadoss urged publicly the acting legend Kamalahasan to change the title of the then in-production “Mumbai Express” because the title was not in Tamil and threatened that the actor would otherwise face a state-level agitation by his party men. He apparently claimed he was the savior of Tamil language and won't let thereafter any movie to release with a non-tamil title. There are people like Karunanidhi fighting for the protection of Tamil for decades. Mr. Karunanidhi has done something towards the cause as well, no matter how constructive it is. But Mr. Ramadoss had never done anything significant towards developing the language before. People got so disgusted at his cheap populism. He had made so many moves in the past as dramatic and disgusting as this. The list would be endless. The way he is taking up the issue of Srilankan tamils in the ongoing election is no different.
Despite having enjoyed the cabinet position in UPA government till the very last moment of his announcement about the change of alliance for the forthcoming election, he has come up with so many accusations about the congress government and his former ally DMK in the past few weeks. He shamelessly questions why DMK did not quit the congress government for the cause of Srilankan tamils! People who read this at first might think he was never part of the UPA government. He projects him the prophet of tamils while accusing his allies of yesterday the biggest enemies of them. He goes on further by challenging DMK to withdraw from contesting in the current election in order to show their support for Srilankan tamils. He is probably beyond the scope of any definition; he is probably too great to prove a point to any one; he is probably too futuristic to understand today; his objective is probably too sublime to question the path he now undertakes! Let us hope so!
Here is a video of Dr Ramadoss addressing a joint press conference this April just before Lok Sabha election with former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha where he is praising her like anything even addressing her as “anbu sahodari” meaning “beloved sister”.