Not Guilty: Kanimozhi’s Political Future After the 2G Verdict
Hitting the campaign trail ahead of the 2016 TN Assembly Elections, which the DMK lost by a thin margin, Kanimozhi had already embraced the public shame and legal suffering which came along with the accusations in the 2G case. In the preceding five years, she had laboured through sustained political attacks and a 193-day jail term, over allegations which have now been roundly debunked. But she had emerged from the darkness to fight it out in the open.
That experience came to an end with a euphoric victory for her and the DMK on 21 December, when the Special CBI Court in Delhi acquitted all the accused in the 2G case.
Her statement to the press after the verdict was reflective of the past few years. “I have been waiting these last six years for this day. The last six years have been harrowing to say the least,” she said, stating that she was dragged into the case only so her father could lose the 2011 polls in TN.
Even if Kanimozhi had come to terms with her political reality after 2014, the dark clouds of the 2G case hung over her. She had slowly been incorporated into the top echelons of the party, but, as a DMK leader said to TNM this morning, “the 2G scam came along with her, wherever she went.”
“She would get that look sometimes, holding her guilty of amassing massive imaginary wealth and bringing down the party,” recounts the DMK leader. She was not open to giving too many interviews to the media, and shied away from controversies.
Even ahead of the verdict, she was cautious, even though she was sure she would be acquitted, says a close confidant. “She was quietly confident. Hopeful. But we knew it is unpredictable, so we were cautious.”
Today, all of that comes to an end. She doesn’t have to respond to questions about her probity anymore. The shadow of doubt has vanished.
So, what does this mean for her? Personally, quite a lot, but politically, not so much.
This is phenomenal for her. She does not have to be hesitant anymore. See how she stayed away from the RK Nagar campaigning. She will be a much bigger political leader. But in the scheme of the larger politics of DMK and TN, her role is bound to be the same – just a lot more confident and open.
A DMK leader
Party insiders, however, say that she could be looking at a bigger post within the party now. She is likely to become the top woman leader of the party, positioning herself next to MK Stalin.
“She can be a lot more open and free now. She does not have to think too much about speaking to the media,” says a DMK member. She will continue to be the DMK’s Delhi point person, “but she can be a lot more assertive now,” adds the member.
Whatever the 2G verdict could do for her, it has done already. “The case has already made her more resolute about politics. Perhaps, without the case, she would have gone behind the scenes. But she feels a sense of injustice in the way she was dragged into the case unnecessarily. She wants to stay in politics and prove herself,” says a DMK insider who has been by her side through the 2G case.
(The article was originally published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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