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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

DMK retains strongholds in first list, leaves west, south TN to allies

DMK president MK Stalin released the names of 20 seats the party will be contesting in its traditional stronghold of Chennai and the northern parts of Tamil Nadu.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 16, 2019 00:02 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
DMK president MK Stalin releases a list of constituencies allotted to the allies in the presence of coalition leaders, including TNCC chief KS Alagiri and MDMK’s Vaiko, at Anna Arivalayam, in Chennai, Friday.
DMK president MK Stalin releases a list of constituencies allotted to the allies in the presence of coalition leaders, including TNCC chief KS Alagiri and MDMK’s Vaiko, at Anna Arivalayam, in Chennai, Friday. (PTI)
         

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led alliance announced on Friday the seats each party would contest in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, with the Dravidian party choosing to focus on its traditional stronghold of Chennai and the northern parts of the state.

At a press conference at party headquarters Anna Arivalayam in Chennai, DMK president MK Stalin released the names of 20 seats the party will be contesting. The other 19, mainly in the western and southern parts of the state where the DMK is perceived to be weaker, has been given to allies. The Congress is fighting in nine seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in Puducherry.

The Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) are fighting two seats each. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) and Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi (KMDK) have one seat each.

Besdies the three seats in Chennai, the DMK is set to fight from Sriperumbudur, Arakkonam, Kanchipuram(SC), Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Salem, Dharmapuri, Cuddalore, Kallakkurichi, Mayiladuthurai, Thanjavur, Pollachi, Thoothukkudi, Tenkasi (SC), Tirunelveli, Dindigul and Nilgiris (SC) LS seats.

The Congress is contesting from Tiruvallur (SC), Arani, Krishnagiri, Karur, Trichy, Kanniyakumari, Virudhunagar, Theni, Sivaganga and Puducherry LS seats. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (CPI) has got Nagapattinam (SC) and Tiruppur LS seats.

The CPI(M) will fight in the Coimbatore and Madurai constituencies. The Dalit-led VCK has been offered the Villupuram (SC) and Chidambaram (SC) seats. MDMK will contest from Erode in western Tamil Nadu.

IUML is contesting from Ramanathapuram, where Muslims account for a majority of the electorate. KDMK has been allotted Namakkal seat and IJK will contest from Perambalur.

Of the 20 seats the DMK is contesting, the party has picked up just three constituencies – Pollachi, Salem and Nilgiris (SC) - in the western part of Tamil Nadu that is dominated by the Gounder caste, a traditional vote bank of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

In southern Tamil Nadu, the DMK has opted for only four seats - Thoothukkudi, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli and Dindigul. It is expected that the DMK’s women wing secretary and MP Kanimozhi will contest from Thoothukkudi.

Mukkulathor or Thevars who largely form the social base of the AIADMK as well as rebel TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), are concentrated in Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Theni, Sivaganga, and Trichy seats.

According to DMK organising secretary and Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi, the party should not be seen as intentionally avoiding western and southern Tamil Nadu.

“As part of the negotiations carried out without partners, we have given the seats desired by them. We are not afraid to contest in the western belt. We are fighting in Pollachi. Though we have given Namakkal seat to KMDK, that party will contest in our ‘Rising Sun’ symbol. Since communists are strong in Coimbatore and Tiruppur, we have acceded to their demand. Similarly, the Congress and other allies have got their seats in southern TN,” Bharathi said.

Political analyst Selvaraj Sankaraiah disagreed with Bharati, pointing out that the DMK has retained seats in its stronghold.

“Thus far, the Gounders in western TN and Mukkulathors in southern TN have largely remained loyal to the AIADMK for long. Successive AIADMK governments have given more representation to Gounders and Mukkulathors in the cabinet. The DMK seems to consider the western and southern belt as a litmus test,” he opined.

Stalin said the DMK-led alliance, which is facing an AIADMK-BJP-PMK-DMDK coalition, would sweep the polls. “Unlike the AIADMK-BJP’s front formed by horse trading, we have formed an ideological alliance. Our UPA [United Progressive Alliance] will win all the 39 seats in TN and the lone seat in Puducherry,” he asserted.

The DMK will announce its candidates in a couple of days, he added.

Tamil Nadu Congress president KS Alagiri said the party would announce the candidates in another three days.

In the AIADMK-led coalition, the AIADMK is fighting in 20 constituencies, the BJP in five, the Pattali Makkal Katchi in seven and actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam in four. Former Union Minister GK Vasan’s Tamil Maanila Congress, Puthiya Thamilagam (PT), New Justice Party (NJP) are contesting one seat each while the All India NR Congress has been given the Puducherry LS seat.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 00:02 IST

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