Tamil Nadu provincial government support pulls the rug out from under protest groups
The provincial government of Tamil Nadu, India’s southern-most state, said on March 20 that it was dropping its opposition to hot start and also withdrawing support from local anti-nuclear protests. The decision follows more than six months of fence sitting despite pleas for support from the protest groups and counter pressure from the central government.
In return for supporting the nuclear plant, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha wants political air cover, and she named as her price the control of distribution of 100 percent of the electrical power from the plant, an unlikely outcome.
Jayalalitha’s demand carries political weight with the locals, however. It helps preserve her position that is newly energized as a purveyor of political patronage in the form of access to electricity. The region is ravaged by electricity shortages, so having some to allocate puts the Tamil Nadu government in a much more influential position than hanging with the protest groups.
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