Tamil Nadu polls: BJP tries to find toehold as Dravidian celebrations sweat it

The battle for Tamil Nadu’s 234 assembly seats is becoming a daytime soap with VK Sasikala’s theatrical return after her prison term to her dramatic retreat from politics and the DMDK walking out on the AIADMK. With a tough contest in between AIADMK and DMK in the offing, the lack of leading figures like J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi is palpable. While the DMK wants to have an edge over AIADMK, experts warn not to ignore the goodwill that primary minister Edappadi K Palaniswami delights in, particularly his handling of Covid-19 and his industry-friendly image. Dia Rekhi & KR Balasubramanyam report: The Karur to Krishnagiri region is dominated by the Vanniyar and Gounder communities where both the chief minister, a Gounder himself, and Ramadoss’s PMK have their own following. Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK rely on the Thevars. Chennai and its surrounding locations like Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur have actually usually been DMK strongholds.Analysts say that if you include DMK’s core vote-bank plus the minority votes, it concerns about 15%. A percentage of Dalit votes and the conventional Congress votes of about 5% could take this to around 40%. So, in the fight with DMK, the AIADMK needs to summon all the staying votes to compete as the BJP’s vote-share was just about 3-4%; PMK had about 5%; and AIADMK about 25%—- this concerns about 37-38%, experts said, passing previous election data.While AIADMK has a three-party alliance with the BJP and PMK, the DMK has actually managed an eight-party alliance with Congress, VCK, CPI, CPM, IUML, KMDK and others. Their success is crucial for MK Stalin to wrest power after ten years. Smaller sized parties survive either due to community-based vote-banks like PMK (Vanniyar) and AMMK (Thevar) or region-specific votes like MDMK (main Tamil Nadu). AIADMK is contesting 177 seats while DMK is fielding its candidates in 173 seats and another 14 from a partner under its sign. The elections are viewed as a direct fight between Palaniswami, a four-time MLA, and Stalin, a six-term MLA. AIADMK relatively has a lot to lose with the coming together of AMMK and star Vijayakanth’s DMDK. While DMK, which is upbeat after its outstanding efficiency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when its alliance won 38 of the 39 seats, AIADMK has a lot to lose as it stumbled upon as inflexible during settlements. This might scatter votes that would have otherwise come to the AIADMK combine. With a third front headed by Kamal Haasan’s MNM along with AISMK and IJK, votes are expected to get divided making it a close battle in between the 2 Dravidian parties.While the DMK has actually opposed the Citizenship Modification Act from the beginning, the AIADMK has actually moved its position stating it will advise the Centre to drop the law. The biggest headwind for AIADMK is a possible anti-incumbency in parts of the state. Stalin’s barbs at AIADMK include the guarantee that he will speed up the probe into the situations that resulted in Jayalalithaa’s death. DMK’s competitors state the celebration is perpetuating the dynastic politics with MK Stalin inheriting the party chief’s post from his father.Tamil Nadu has not been particularly inviting to the BJP. The party intends to field widely known faces and then go the entire hog in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. This discusses the technique to field star Khushbu from Thousand Lights in Chennai. Several other leading BJP leaders are contesting from the 20 seats which the party’s ally AIADMK has actually conceded. BJP is stated to have done some backdoor manoeuvering to save AIADMK from getting into factions after Jayalalitha’s death. The DMK combine losing power directly in 2016 is blamed on Congress’ poor performance. This election, the Congress is contesting from 25 seats and wants to make a splash.

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