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A ransacked Amma canteen   

Will Stalin Reverse Popular Schemes Of The Previous Regime?

In Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin is firmly in the saddle but has work cut out for him. So far, he has done everything by the book, keeping to protocols.  But, all of a sudden, some DMK “extreme loyalists” targeted Amma canteens, an abiding symbol of J Jayalalithaa’s populist policy. They ransacked one, bringing down the nameboards, smashing the cooking and serving utensils — with a vulgar show of strength, post victory.  Since 2013 when JJ’s Government started these Amma Unavagams (eateries), lakhs of the poor and marginalised people have eaten their fill here, all over TN. Idlis at Re 1, curd rice at Rs 3, sambhar rice at Rs 9, a subsidised system where no one was discriminated against. Other states have emulated this model.  Stalin reacted immediately and the anti-socials were booked. The DMK cadres have a reputation for violence and unruly behaviour, and Stalin has to reign in such overkill. But the AIADMK too has not been beyond reproach. The people here cannot forget the vindictive response of Jayalalithaa, when AIADMK stormed to power in 2011, and promptly overturned the decision to convert the newly minted legislative and executive complex at Omandurar Estate, a dream project of late DMK chief M Karunanidhi. The charismatic statesman had personally overseen the design of this aesthetic complex. JJ converted this into a super-speciality tertiary hospital, later adding a medical college and retained Fort St George as the seat of Government. An entirely serendipitous, fortunate fallout as taxpayers’ money did not go down the drain. It’s in the interest of the new ruling dispensation to ensure that election triumphalism does not lead to malevolent political actions. But who cares? Taxpayer and his money are soon parted.