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Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | Farmers hold key in battle for Tamil Nadu’s heartland

With 44 seats over 9 districts at stake, the area has typically tipped the scales in deciding who takes Fort St George

In the intently fought, high-stakes battle for the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the State’s central area with 41 Assembly seats unfold over 9 districts, might show to be the political barometer.

In latest elections, the social gathering that has gained essentially the most variety of constituencies right here, has finally shaped the federal government.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | Farmers hold key in battle for Tamil Nadu’s heartland


Having ceded a lot floor to its archrival in the area in the previous two Assembly elections, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is eager to reassert its supremacy in the agrarian heartland of the State, unfold largely over the fertile Cauvery delta.

After the setback in 2011 when it gained simply seven seats by itself, the DMK considerably improved its efficiency to bag 16 seats in 2016. The social gathering additionally recouped effectively in the 2019 common elections to win all of the seven Lok Sabha seats from the area, after the overall rout in 2014. And having put up a powerful efficiency in the 2019 native physique polls, the place it secured the bulk in six district panchayat councils, the DMK is using excessive on confidence.

The AIADMK, nevertheless, is hoping to reap the advantages of the slew of measures introduced simply forward of the elections by Chief Minister Edappadi Ok. Palaniswami, particularly the cooperative crop mortgage waiver and declaration of the Cauvery delta as a protected agricultural zone. Mr. Palaniswami has additionally persistently sought to determine himself as a humble farmer, who has risen up the ranks.

Curiously, the Assembly election this time in the delta is seemingly bereft of any main difficulty. Even the three contentious new farm legal guidelines, regardless of the sporadic protests, don’t appear to have develop into a serious influencing issue right here as farmers’ organisations are divided on the difficulty.

“Despite stiff opposition from some of the organisations, the average farmer does not seem to be aware of the implications of the new laws,” concedes V. Jeevakumar of Thanjavur.

Also, points similar to rising cultivation prices, poor returns and the affect of the pandemic on the agricultural financial system have all been drowned in the cacophony of political wrangling. While the push for the intra-State Cauvery-Gundar river hyperlink challenge has gladdened farmers in Pudukottai, these in the core delta districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Mayiladuthurai and Nagpattinam have reservations over the Mettur-Sarabanga challenge which seeks to divert “surplus” flows from the Mettur dam to lakes in the Sarabanga basin in the Chief Minister’s native Salem district.

The disaster in agriculture sector aside, the area has lagged behind in industrial development too. Numerous metal fabrication models, all ancillaries of the general public sector energy main BHEL in Tiruchi, have turned sick. Simmering discontent over the failure to concede the favored demand for a brand new district with Kumbakonam as headquarters might singe the AIADMK in the three constituencies of Kumbakonam, Thiruvidaimarudur and Papanasam, locals say.

Yet, the ruling social gathering believes that the pro-farmer measures of the federal government and the perceived “absence of anti-incumbency” would win the day.

“Farmers are doubly happy and contended over the waiver of the crop loans as well as jewel loans,” says Minister for Handlooms and Textiles O.S. Manian, who’s searching for re-election from Vedaranyam, well-known for its salt pans.

“Farmers were extended liberal credit and whenever they suffered crops losses, including in cyclone Gaja, they were compensated. The State government has disbursed relief for the crop damages caused by heavy rain last year, including in rainfed areas, without waiting for the Centre to sanction funds. And now the government has waived crop and jewel loans and freed farmers from debts,” Mr. Manian contends.

But the DMK dismisses the claims. “The announcements are all mere political stunts. The loan waiver has benefited only the AIADMK men and not all farmers have got their loans written off,” former Minister and DMK principal secretary Ok.N. Nehru mentioned.

The DMK has additionally been pointing to the lingering discontent over sections of farmers on the “inadequacy” of the compensation after cyclone Gaja.

Besides, Mr. Manian, State Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabaskar, Tourism Minister Vellamandi N. Natarajan and AIADMK deputy coordinator R. Vaithilingam are contesting from the area.

For the DMK, former Ministers Senthil Balaji and S. Reghupathy, and the prodigal son, S.Ok. Vetharathinam, are among the many outstanding contenders moreover Mr. Nehru.

Though the Congress has been allotted simply two seats in the area, it nonetheless instructions respect throughout the area. The DMK alliance has been bolstered by the return of the Left events, which have a presence in the core delta districts, and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.

Smaller events such because the Indian Union Muslim League and Manitheneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), representing the Muslim neighborhood, would assist the DMK leverage the assist of the minorities. The social gathering has allotted Papanasam and Manapparai to the MMK and the Tiruchi East to the Christuva Nallena Iyakkam (Christian Goodwill Movement), all contesting on the DMK image, in the area.

The assist bases of the AIADMK’s allies — the BJP, Pattali Makkal Katchi and Tamil Maanila Congress — are restricted to sure pockets in the area. However, with its aggressive marketing campaign, the BJP has been pushing arduous in the area with State vice-president and former IPS officer, Ok. Annamalai, among the many outstanding contestants.

With the household of former aide to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, V.Ok. Sasikala, hailing from Mannargudi in the area, the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) might eat into the AIADMK vote financial institution in a couple of segments in the delta.

But the AMMK chief T.T.V. Dhinakaran might not be capable to stroll away with the Kallar vote financial institution with out the total backing of his aunt, Ms. Sasikala. His principal ally, actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam had secured about 10,000 votes in fairly a couple of constituencies in the area in what appears to be its heydays in the 2006 election.

But different elements might upset the advantageous calculations of the Dravidian majors. Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi, which has a sizeable following, has performed spoilsport in many seats in the previous few elections and Kamal Haasan’s fledgling Makkal Needhi Maiam, in its quest to reveal its power, might additionally trigger a break up in votes in city segments.

The authorities’s resolution to offer 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars throughout the general MBC quota of 20% can be anticipated to adversely affect the ruling social gathering in the area. While Mutharaiyars dominate the Tiruchi-Pudukkottai belt, Kallars-Maravars-Agamudayars have a sway in the core delta area and Kongu Vellala Goundars are a pressure to reckon with in Karur. Dalits are unfold throughout the districts.

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