Tamil Nadu: Going The DMK-UPA WayThe Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu will be interesting this year. With no Jayalalitha or Karunanidhi around this time, both the AIADMK and the DMK will miss their crowd-pulling abilities and connect with the people. Neither party has any leader who can even come close to the departed titans. But, as it is said, the show must go on. Both the parties have aligned with the two main national alliances the AIADMK with the NDA and the DMK with the UPA. But as things stand, while Karunanidhi had groomed Stalin as his heir apparent and he can now claim the legacy, the larger than life Jayalalitha had left a vaccum. Sasikala tried to fill it but she is now in jail. TTV Dhinakaran is also trying to claim the legacy, causing problems for Chief Minister EK Palaniswami and company. Although almost all smaller parties have joined one or the other major alliances, actor Kamal Hasans new party might snare some voters due to star power.
By Sunil Garodia
The AIADMK will be on the back foot in these elections mainly because of anti-incumbency and a public perception that its house is not in order. The prolonged and very public spat between Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam did no good to the partys image. Then, Dhinakaran carved out a faction and successfully contested by-elections from RK Nagar, the seat represented by Jayalalitha. The influence of Sasikala, even from prison, cannot be ruled out and will be a thorn in the side of the chief minister and his deputy. The alliance with the NDA is also not going to help as the people of the state are not much enamoured with the BJP and Modis charisma does not work magic in the state. With 18 by-elections to assembly seats also being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, the very existence of the Palaniswami government is at stake.
The DMK, on the other hand, is free from any baggage this time. The corruption charges against its leaders A Raja, Dayanidhi Maran and Karunanidhis daughter M Kanimozhi also fell flat when they were acquitted in 2017. The party will campaign with a clean slate and highlight the shortcomings of the AIADMK government and fan the peoples anger against the Modi government at Centre over issues such as NEET and demonetization. The Times Now-VMR poll gives the DMK-UPA 34 seats out of the total 39. That is very close to the ground reality. It remains to be seen whether Modi can work his magic and turn the tables.