The word Kidnap was possibly coined to describe kids being taken away / stolen while they were napping / sleeping. Something similar seems to have happened in Tamil Nadu a few days ago. Now it is not clear if the 130+ MLAs were napping or awake when they were herded into buses and whether they boarded the buses on their own feet or those of Madame Sasikala Chinnamma’s, but they’ve probably ended up at a nice, luxurious resort. They certainly seem to have all gone to sleep since. Waking them up might need a habeas corpus petition, a Supreme Court order etc.
The only reason no rescue mission has been launched yet is probably because they were kidnapped using buses rather than an aircraft. Kidnapping on aircraft is called hijacking and there’s international collaboration to rescue the hijacked. Or, may be these MLAs are not being rescued because Mr Advani is not Home Minister and Mr Jaswant Singh is not Foreign Minister. Remember the alacrity with which M/s. Advani & Jaswant Singh had acted in the IC 814 case!
It is not clear if they’re allowed to answer nature’s calls in those resorts because the last time one MLA was allowed to answer nature’s call he scooted into the opposite camp. Our’s is such a healthy and vibrant democracy. MLAs are having to use nature’s calls to make political statements, to express their loyalties!
We may soon have the spectacle of MLAs filing a petition in Supreme Court demanding freedom to go to the toilet whenever they like. To be fair in spite of the fact that these MLAs cannot go to loo, use mobile phones, or the internet and are completely walled in from the outside world -politically speaking- it is more of a swayamwar rather than kidnapping. A multi-cornered, multi-choice swayamwar, if you like. Mr O Paneerselvam, Sasikala, DMK, BJP, Congress are all mightily attracted towards them. Mr Rajnikant and Kamal Hasan may throw their hats in the ring too, who knows?
If the current drama in Tamil Nadu were a film it is unclear which genre it would belong to. Comedy? Action Thriller? Mystery ? Documentary? Or all of the above? In that case it could well be India’s entry at the next Oscars.
The whole TN problem has arisen because Amma Jayalalitha did not anoint a successor. Why she did not anoint one is probably because she was not sure if we’re a Monarchy or Democracy. Luckily the Gandhis, Badals, Thakareys, Karunanidhis, Laloo Prasads, Mualayam Singhs, Abdullahs, Muftis have had no such dilemma. Of course, we may still get to see drama in their fiefdoms! One political reform we should all unanimously adopt is that like Bank forms ask for Nominees in case of death of A/c holders every Chief Minister (and of course, PM) must be asked to anoint a nominee on some Bank-like form.
With this minor ‘Nominee’ reform our democracy will be much healthier because parties -over the years- have instituted revolutionary and unique internal reforms at their own initiative. For instance, each party has clearly defined criteria on who to give election tickets to. Some parties give tickets only to candidates who can give inflammatory speeches and cause riots, others to local musclemen, yet others to candidates who after being elected can stall Parliament or Assembly proceedings from the well of the house, and some to candidates who can fill party coffers after election. Giving election tickets to candidates certified by Spine-specialists to be ‘safely spineless’ is a perfectly logical prerequisite. Remember how each candidate prostrated himself (rarely herself) when Amma introduced them at election rallies last time?
So, that is the profile of those holed up at some resort, ably protected by Amma’s spirit. That’s the kind of political reform India’s janata really seeks. That is the alternative politics of Achche Din where MLAs will show up everywhere but the State legislature. Since, in any case Parliament & Assembly are not for discussions but fisticuffs, whisking members away to some remote place to prove majority is the cleanest & most nonviolent democratic expression of people’s will.
The only minor problem is that poor Chinamma Sasikala is being put through great stress to inherit Amma’s party and Government. She may be having to pay for the resort, buses, spas and swimming pools out of her own pocket, unless she’s found a good corporate sponsor. This is not to doubt her ability to foot the few hundred crore Rupee bill for the public service she’s rendering but her public interest actions must be publicly funded. Besides, a small technical issue is if she pays out of her own pocket it might go against her in the ongoing corruption cases that Amma Jayalalitha has left her to grapple with.