Winds of change seem to be sweeping Tamil Nadu. The outcome of the polls to be held for the 234 seats on April 13 could well bring back the AIADMK chief, J Jayalalithaa as the chief minister.
The AIADMK apparently has a better alliance this time, but Jayalalithaa still has to go the last mile even though she is drawing larger crowd, and the support base is getting consolidated. A factor favouring her is that her party is contesting 160 seats, while the ruling DMK is contesting 119 seats only. Allies of the two parties are contesting the remaining seats.
Effectively, the DMK has forced upon itself the prospect of forming a coalition government, and invited problems given the discord between its party workers and the Congress cadre, which favoured an alliance with the AIADMK. Strategically, Jayalalithaa is attacking only the DMK and not the Congress, keeping the doors open for an alliance later.
But then, last-minute efforts of the ruling DMK to revive its fortunes could bear fruit if the factions owing allegiance to different family members work together and the cadre of its ally, the Congress, backs all their party nominees.
The DMK, it seems, is fighting many odds. Among them is the succession struggle between CM M Karunanidhi’s sons MK Stalin and MK Alagiri.
Prof Ramu Manivannan of the Madras University feels the cadre of the ruling alliance may not vote for each other. He said Jaya’s failure in dealing with Vaiko’s MDMK effectively could hurt her alliance. Political analyst Cho Ramaswamy feels the government’s failure to take the benefits of its policies will hurt the DMK and its partners.
He said, “Freebies may not save the DMK as people want change. Dumping the DMK would have been in the Congress’s long-term interests. So far as the succession issue is concerned, if it is not settled in Karunanidhi’s lifetime, the DMK will be in turmoil.”