Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has ushered in a new era of healthy politics. In forming an anti-Covid committee of all-party MLAs he was signaling that he is ready to take the bi-partisan route to politics. An immediate beneficiary was his own Covid relief fund that attracted a contribution of Rs 1 crore from the opposition AIADMK as well as a month’s salary from its 66 MLAs.
More than the money, the gestures towards fostering healthy political ties carried a trend-breaking message of amity. This is a sea change from the frosty relationship between the two Dravidian majors, which have been daggers drawn for decades, especially after Assembly incidents involving Jayalalithaa whose saree may have been tugged by ruling DMK legislators. A series of walkouts or boycott of Assembly proceedings used to be a constant feature as the parties refused to see eye to eye on anything save the most popular issues. Stalin seems determined to change all that and ex-CM Edappadi K Palaniswami is also playing up to it by being a graceful loser while tweeting his congratulations to Stalin on the popular verdict. While it is not certain how long the bonhomie will last, a positive change in the political atmosphere is owed to Stalin’s willingness to be the diplomat.