How long can you block the rising sun with two shades? If the question is in Tamil Nadu, the answer is 10 years. Randila is the election symbol of the AIADMK. DMK’s Udayasuryan. In 2016, the AIADMK came to power by blowing up the electoral norms and predictions in Tamil Nadu. During the last 5 years, a lot of water has flowed through the Cauvery River. Two big trees like Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa have gone down in history. The next ‘leader’ in Tamil politics will be the leader who led the party to win the elections this time. The DMK has the upper hand in the last phase of the campaign as well. However, the loyalty of a good section of voters to the two-leaf clover and the AIADMK cannot be underestimated.
Pentagon in the picture
According to the political lexicon, this time the Tamil war can be described as a pentagonal contest. But the main competition is between the AIADMK-DMK fronts. The DMK’s secular progressive alliance has 13 parties, including the Congress, the Left and the Muslim League. The AIADMK has 10 parties in the alliance, including the BJP, the PMK and the Tamil Nadu Congress. The alliance, led by TTV Dinakaran’s mother and children, has parties including Vijayakanth’s DMDK. Parties including Kamal Haasan’s sons Neeti Mayyam, Samathwa Makkal Kakshi and Indian Jananayaka Party are also contesting in the alliance. Actor and director Seaman’s Naam Tamil Party is contesting in 234 constituencies alone.
Will the trinity starve?
Even if the water stick bites, dinner will be missed. There are three parties in the fray this time around that have the potential to disrupt the victory dinner of the Dravidian parties. Kamal Haasan’s son Neethi Mayyam is coming with the confidence of having proved his strength in the urban constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections. Kamal Haasan is contesting directly in Coimbatore South. Both the Dravida factions are worried about who will be affected by the party’s votes in urban constituencies in districts including Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli and Coimbatore. In the Lok Sabha elections in Coimbatore and Chennai, the party candidates had won over one lakh votes. The party won close to four percent of the vote.
TTV Dinakaran’s campaign focusing on southern Tamil Nadu raises the heartbeat of the AIADMK. Dinakaran’s campaign is based on the slogan of ousting the leaders who betrayed Shashikala and reclaiming the AIADMK. Dinakaran’s party won 5% of the vote in the parliamentary elections. But in southern Tamil Nadu, it is close to 10 per cent. Along with the Lok Sabha elections, by-elections were held in 22 Assembly constituencies. Dinakaran’s party defeated the AIADMK in 4 constituencies.
If the Thevar faction, which has a decisive influence in the southern region, rallies behind Dinakaran, the AIADMK’s desire for continued rule will have to ‘go south’. Actor Vijaykanth’s alliance with DMDK has strengthened the party. Seaman’s Naam Tamil party, which is raising the alternative of Tamil nationalism against Dravidian politics, is also a presence to be noted. In 2016, the party won 1.6% of the vote in the inaugural election, doubling it in the Lok Sabha. Seeman is currently the number one speaker in the Tamil Nadu constituency. Seaman’s fiery speeches bring young people to the party in Tamil Nadu, which has always had a fan base for verbal flexibility. Seaman’s party is strongest in rural areas.
MK Stalin and Edappadi K Palani Sami are leading the Dravidian front in the political arena where Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi are empty. With four decades of political legacy, Stalin could not have had a better chance of realizing his long-held dream of becoming chief minister. The party stands alone behind. MK Alagiri’s brother, who had earlier raised the riot flag, is silent. He is confident of winning 38 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Backed by a strong-based alliance called the Secular Progressive Alliance.
Stalin, who formed the DMK student body at the age of 14 and began his political career, did not take the elevator and become party president. Although Karunanidhi’s son was a major figure in politics, it was his hard work and imprisonment that made Stalin a politician. Stalin, who has served as DMK youth wing secretary, party treasurer, MLA, minister, Chennai mayor and deputy chief minister, is the next chief minister to hold the career graph. Stalin and the DMK know that if not now, then no more. The cadre party DMK will survive even if it loses the third consecutive assembly elections. But the case of Stalin’s leader remains uncertain.
Chief Minister Edappadi K is like a batsman who saves wickets in the first overs and bats in the last overs. Palani Sami. The only aim was to retain the post in the first few years of unexpectedly becoming Chief Minister. In the by-elections to the Lok Sabha, Edappadi shifted gears after winning 9 seats and retaining power. One after the other, several schemes were announced, including the conversion of the Cauvery River into a protected agricultural zone, 10.5% reservation for government school students in medical admission and 10.5% special reservation for the Vanniyar section. Kit also provided small financial aid during the Kovid period. Kovid succeeded in controlling, to a certain extent, by giving the officers complete independence.
Edappadi is the ‘Accidental’ Chief Minister who rose to power after the OPS raised the riot flag and Shashikala had to go to jail for illegal acquisition of property. But after Kamaraj, Palani Sami from Salem Edappadi was able to become popular with the image of an ordinary CM. Without Karunanidhi’s rhetoric, MGR’s stardom or Jayalalithaa’s command, he can present himself as an ordinary, representative of the peasantry. The BJP had proposed to strengthen the AIADMK by including Shashikala before the elections. But the strongest opposition was to Edappadi. Therefore, if he loses, the party will lose its grip. If caught, it can move forward without major injury. Edappadi will be the next star in Tamil politics if he continues to rule.
The double-edged sword of the nation
The fronts were flooded with promises. The DMK and the AIADMK have proposed a monthly salary of Rs 1,000 for housewives. The promise of 6 free gas cylinders and a free washing machine was extended. However, the assessment is that the caste equations will have an unprecedented impact in Tamil Nadu this time. The Vanniyars are the dominant sect in northern Tamil Nadu. Extremely Backward Classes (MBC). There is a 20% reservation for this category. The PMK, the political party of the Vanni, has been on strike for years demanding special reservation. Currently, the PMK and the AIADMK are in an alliance.
Half an hour before the election announcement, the government issued an order giving 10.5 per cent reservation to the Vanni community in 20 per cent of MBC. Dalits are predominant in northern and southern Tamil Nadu, Thevar in south-central and Gounder communities in western Tamil Nadu. Other sections are dissatisfied with the move to give special reservation to the Vanniyar section. If this is reflected in the vote, there will be a heavy setback for the AIADMK. The Thevar faction is upset with the attitude of the AIADMK leadership towards Shashikala.
The possibility of unrest and dissatisfaction with the increase in Vanniyar reservation cannot shake the foundations of the ruling front. There is also a factor in the caste equation that is beneficial to the AIADMK alliance. The need for the Pallar, Pannadi, Kudumbar, Kaladi, Moopar and Devendra Kulathar sub-castes of the Dalit community to be considered as a single category of Devendrakula Vellalar is decades old. The demand was accepted on the recommendation of the state government and the central government passed the law just before the elections. This will benefit the AIADMK alliance in southern Tamil Nadu.
The Congress and the BJP are contesting directly in 5 Assembly constituencies and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat. The Congress has 25 seats and the BJP has 20 seats. The Congress won at least 25 seats this time around with the DMK holding hands and feet. Last time, it won 42 seats and won only eight. Between the cup and the lip, the pathetic performance of the Congress was hailed as one of the reasons for the DMK’s loss of power. If he does not do well this time, the Congress will become a pawn in Tamil Nadu politics.
The ordeal awaits the BJP, which is contesting 20 seats. The party is adamant that it will not be able to conquer the Dravidian soil but will have to step down. There is a widespread perception that opposition to the BJP will weaken the AIADMK as well. Excellent performance is essential to erase this ‘negative’ image. The BJP’s best performance so far was in 2001 when it was in the DMK alliance. He contested in 21 seats and won 4 seats. The BJP is working hard to break that record.
Tamil self-esteem – goondaism
The main propaganda of the DMK is that the Edappadi government has subjugated the self-esteem of Tamil Nadu to the central government and the BJP. The DMK alliance is also accusing the BJP of raising issues like NEET, neglect of Tamils and anti-Hindi sentiment.
Along with the achievements of the government, the AIADMK is telling the people about the goons and anarchy of the DMK governments. It warns that if the DMK returns, it will be ruled by ‘Chhota’ leaders and that gangsterism, including land grabbing, will return. Stalin, after Karunanidhi, and Udayanidhi, are the ones who are attacking family politics.
Left parties, Muslim League
The Left had 19 MLAs in the 2011 Assembly. 10 for the CPI and 9. for the CPM. In the current assembly, however, the Left does not have a single member. The CPI and the CPM contested in the Vijayakanth-led People’s Welfare Front. Last time, the Left parties realized that victory was not possible without the support of the Dravidian parties. It is with that recognition that the DMK is poised to stay in the front despite being given the lowest number of seats in history (6 for each party).
The Left is vying for the top 12 seats. The Muslim League, which has a single MLA in the expiring assembly, is contesting 3 seats. The DMK first came to power in Tamil Nadu in 1967. The longest political exile since then was 1977-89 – 12 years. At that time, the rising sun disappeared in the light of MGR. Jayalalithaa was defeated in the last two elections. Is it time for the DMK to rise in the Tamil political sky after the eclipse? Or will the magic of Edappadi continue? 6.26 crore voters in Tamil Nadu are waiting for the verdict.
English Summary: How Tamil Nadu Going for Vote in 2021 Assembly Elections