For Tamil Nadu’s Big Two Dravidian parties, the AIADMK (All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), managing their ballot allies’ demand for seats is popping out to be a tricky ask. The problem in imposing their will on a lot smaller allies additionally offers away the apprehensions of those parties about the 2021 election.
DMK chief M.Okay. Stalin (centre) with the different SPA leaders at a rally in Madurai
The DMK and AIADMK have collectively polled over 70 per cent of the votes in each election since 1996, however they’ve needed to depend on minor gamers of late to provide them the decisive edge in a number of constituencies. The 2016 ballot was an exception when an ailing Jayalalithaa determined to go it alone to show her energy, the AIADMK bagged 135 of the complete 234 seats regardless that its vote share was a slender 1 proportion level greater than that of the DMK alliance. Both parties have a 25 per cent assist base every and a well-organised community in most constituencies, making it troublesome for different parties, together with the Congress and the BJP, to make inroads. The two parties additionally imagine that they should contest from at the least 170 seats this time (leaving solely 50-odd to companions) to enhance their possibilities of forming the subsequent Tamil Nadu authorities on their personal. Neither group desires to move a coalition or permit piggy-backing allies to be able to dictate phrases in the occasion of a detailed end result. The smaller parties have performed arduous to get, forcing the AIADMK and the DMK to ship out groups for a number of rounds of negotiations. Other than their pocket boroughs, there are 140 constituencies the place the votes of those smaller parties might make a distinction.
For the AIADMK, aside from the lack of their ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ J. Jayalalithaa, there’s additionally the drawback of two inside factions, one led by chief minister E.Okay. Palaniswami (EPS) and the different by his predecessor and present deputy chief minister O. Panneerselvam (OPS). Prospects of a 3rd entrance steered by V.Okay. Sasikala, the long-time shadow of Jayalalithaa, throwing a spanner in the works have dimmed along with her declaration on March 3 that she wasn’t focused on electoral politics (she is anyway debarred for an additional six years following her conviction for monetary misdemeanours).
EPS and OPS, realising the daunting process forward in countering the anti-incumbency of two phrases, have been working extra time to maintain the central authorities in good humour. The beating the AIADMK alliance took in the 2019 Lok Sabha election additionally weighs heavy. The AIADMK has in the previous few years ‘enabled’ the BJP to broaden its presence in Tamil Nadu and ties have now been cemented in what EPS calls a “natural alliance”.
The AIADMK’s different allies, too, have been driving a tough cut price. The PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi), for one, insisted that it ought to be given extra seats than some other ally and in addition bought EPS to fulfil a long-standing demand, 10.5 per cent inside reservation for the Vanniyar group (which the PMK represents) in the 20 per cent quota for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities. To facilitate this, EPS bought the assembly to undertake new laws on the penultimate day of its final session. The constitutional validity of this legislation (the state authorities gave its assent and a gazette notification was issued inside hours) is being challenged in courtroom. On March 9, the Madras High Court declined to subject a keep order on the invoice however requested the state for a response inside eight weeks. The PMK agreed to affix seat-sharing talks solely after the invoice got here by way of. The celebration was flexing its muscular tissues, citing the 5 per cent vote share it instructions in the state although when it contested independently in 2016, it didn’t win a single seat. When the seat discussions closed, the PMK had 23 seats, the largest quantity amongst the AIADMK allies.
The BJP, too, tried to play hardball in preliminary parleys, however settled for 20 seats after the AIADMK put its foot down. It’s nonetheless pushing for choose constituencies (particularly the temple cities) for the celebration and its actor-supporters Khushboo and Gautami. Meanwhile, one other ally, Capt. Vijayakanth’s DMDK (Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam), has damaged ranks and determined to go it alone whereas G.Okay. Vasan’s Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) has conceded that it may solely demand a lot. The DMDK, a a lot sought-after ally for the Dravidian majors throughout the 2011 and 2016 meeting election, has misplaced a lot of its sheen. In 2011, Vijayakant even went on to change into the chief of the opposition after his celebration received 29 of the 41 meeting seats it contested. But since the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the celebration’s vote share has been crashing and, extra importantly, it has not received a single seat. The allies have nonetheless requested for seats held by the AIADMK, which has mentioned that no seat held by an incumbent minister can be launched. Still not sure of its prospects, the AIADMK alliance has introduced on board a string of smaller parties and caste teams. They is not going to get seats, however have been supplied different assurances. There are at the least 13 such parties who’ve pledged assist.
On the different facet, the DMK has confronted fewer issues in enjoying massive brother to the Secular Progress Alliance (SPA). All the companions who enabled the alliance sweep the 2019 Lok Sabha election requested for extra seats, however the DMK wasn’t having any of it. The Congress, which received simply eight of the 41 seats it contested in the 2016 meeting election, lastly accepted 25 seats after protracted negotiations. At one stage, the distraught Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Okay.S. Azhagiri discovered the negotiation so painful that he broke down in public. The Congress needed to rely upon phrase from Delhi to DMK president M.Okay. Stalin to open up last discussions. Stalin’s telephonic dialog with Sonia Gandhi included a bonus supply to again a Congress candidate from Tamil Nadu to the Rajya Sabha. “Our alliance is a secular partnership that will oppose the BJP and its dictatorial ways,” mentioned Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress chief answerable for Tamil Nadu, after the deal was finalised.
The MDMK (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), a Vaiko-led faction of the DMK that broke away in 1994 opposing Stalin’s ‘dynastic’ succession, has now even agreed to contest on the latter’s ‘Rising Sun’ celebration image, abandoning its personal ‘spinning top’. It is a significant comedown since contesting on their personal ballot symbols is to notch up vote share and guarantee they continue to be a recognised registered political celebration in the state. “A party needs to contest in 12 assembly constituencies if it wants a symbol of its own, and it needs to garner five per cent of the vote,” Vaiko had mentioned earlier. The MDMK lastly bought six seats.
The DMK additionally allotted six seats every to VCK (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi) and the Left parties CPI and CPI(M), three every to the IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) and the KMDK (Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi), and 5 extra seats to different minor parties. Of the 60 seats allotted to alliance companions, the MDMK and 5 different minor parties will contest underneath the DMK’s ‘Rising Sun’ image.
Another celebration, the TPDK (Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam), can also be extending outdoors assist to the SPA. “The AIADMK has become subservient to the BJP and frittered away our hard-fought social justice gains. A DMK win is imperative to stop the BJP juggernaut in the state and ensure social justice,” says TPDK basic secretary Okay. Ramakrishnan. He calls the 20 seats allotted to the BJP by the AIADMK a betrayal of celebration founder M.G. Ramachandran’s beliefs and reminds the celebration that Jayalalithaa, in her final election, had requested the individuals to decide on both the “lady or Modi”. The slate has since been cleaned, and each side have now realigned themselves. n
Amma in Waiting
The mercurial Sasikala has introduced that she is backing off, however for the way lengthy?
At round 9.30 pm on March 3, V.Okay. Sasikala, 66, the long-time confidante of the late J. Jayalalithaa, launched a two-page assertion to journalists ready outdoors her T Nagar house in Chennai. In a dramatic turnaround, Chinnamma (youthful mom), as she was reverentially known as by her former colleagues at the AIADMK, introduced that she was ‘staying away’ from politics. ‘To ensure the continuation of the golden rule of the AIADMK for more than 100 years, just as my sister (Jayalalithaa) wishedthe true cadre of Amma should stay united and work together for the upcoming polls, as they are the children of one mother,’ mentioned the assertion.
She appealed to celebration loyalists to unite against ‘the evil force that is the DMK’. Predictably, it despatched some in the ruling AIADMK into paroxysms of ecstasy. “Her decision shows that the souls of MGR (party founder M.G. Ramachandran) and Amma are protecting the AIADMK,” mentioned celebration coordinator Okay.P. Munuswamy.
During the grand welcome on her launch from a Bengaluru jail (on February 8) and the 23-hour journey again to Chennai, Sasikala had vowed to proceed in politics although she is barred from contesting polls until 2027 (together with the subsequent meeting ballot in 2026). Sources say a BJP interlocutor together with a member of the cabal that she steered to amass large property throughout Jayalalithaa’s reign (property price greater than Rs 2,000 crore have been hooked up by the earnings tax authorities) ‘counseled’ Sasikala to withdraw for now. While welcoming the choice “that will help fulfil Amma’s dream”, BJP nationwide basic secretary answerable for Tamil Nadu, C.T. Ravi, denied that his celebration had any position in influencing it.
Ramu Manivannan, head, division of politics and public administration, Madras University, feels that “the core pressure” got here from the BJP. “Sasikala has only one way forward, wait and watch while working silently for the defeat of the AIADMK. Her future is inextricably linked to the defeat and dissolution of the present AIADMK leadership,” he says.
Recently, she filed a petition in a Chennai civil courtroom looking for to expedite her plea difficult the choice by an AIADMK basic council in September 2017 that eliminated her as the celebration interim basic secretary (a submit she assumed following the passing of Jayalalithaa). The case comes up for listening to subsequent on March 15. Her dramatic declaration to avoid politics is difficult to take at face worth till, and if, she withdraws that petition.