Camaraderie emerging between Jayalalithaa and Maran’s

There is a new but quiet camaraderie emerging between foes, AIADMK leader, J Jayalalithaa, and brothers Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran.

While Karunanidhi’s family’s members are busy in a cable war with the Maran brothers, Jayalalithaa has quietly found her way into the newsrooms of Sun TV channel and Dinakaran, a Tamil Daily from the Maran stable.

Jayalalithaa’s smiling visage routinely pops up on Sun TV news channel these days and news editors of Dinakaran have stopped trashing her daily missives against the DMK government. Her anti-Karunanidhi statements are not only given prominent coverage but are always accompanied by her photographs. The Sun news channel, too, telecasts her photograph and carefully lists the main points in her statements, mostly targeting the DMK government.

At the peak of Dayanidhi Maran’s brief, high profile political career, Jayalalithaa’s name barely found mention in the newspaper or the channel, except when she came under Karunanidhi’s attack. These days, her scathing criticism against the DMK regime is an almost daily item on Sun news. In contrast, the DMK sponsored Kalaignar TV blacks out Jayalalithaa’s statements, just as Jaya TV stays mum on DMK news.

Last week, the Sun channels surprised viewers by telecasting advertisements for the MDMK’s zonal conference held in the city. MDMK leader Vaiko, an electoral ally of the AIADMK, was shown in various poses and attires, inviting party cadres for the rally.

AIADMK officials say the generous Sun coverage for Jayalalithaa began soon after she gave them big business by permitting her party men to advertise in Dinakaran on her birthday earlier this year. On February 24, the Maran-owned newspaper liberally splashed nearly all its pages with more than 20 advertisements of AIADMK men greeting their leader on her 60th birthday.

Sun TV officials had then dismissed rumours of Jayalalithaa and the Maran brothers warming up, saying it was “purely business.” Newspapers that normally published AIADMK advertisements had displeased Jayalalithaa in the current regime by taking a blatant pro-DMK stand and hence her benevolence to the Maran brothers, they said.

Sources close to Maran had also insisted that the group had tried to be ‘neutral’ when it took over the Dinakaran newspaper from the family of a veteran DMK leader about three years ago. But following protests from DMK leaders, the newspaper had decided not to carry any statement or report from the AIADMK that even remotely bordered on personal attack.

But that was before all attempts to patch up with their grand uncle proved futile. Now, clearly equations have changed and so too the political atmosphere in the Sun Group’s newsrooms.

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