Tamil Nadu: Election battleground flooded by smaller parties, but can they deliver?

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Updated: Mar 30, 2021 4:06 PM

Tamil Nadu elections: The last assembly election results showed that just two major parties, AIADMK-40.88 per cent and DMK- 31.39 per cent, cornered 72.27 per cent vote share.

Kamal Haasan (PTI)

Tamil Nadu Assembly Polls 2021: Tamil Nadu’s politics is dominated by two regional parties — AIADMK and DMK — and this assembly election will reinforce whether this will continue even when new parties and leaders are coming up with new scripts to fill the perceived vacuum created by the state’s two titans, K Karunanidhi and J Jayalalitha. In AIADMK, Jayalalitha was replaced by E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, who managed to run the government for five years but in the name of ‘Amma’.

MK Stalin, heir of Karunanidhi, too is going to town telling people what ‘Kalaignar’ did during his two-decade rule as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. By riding on the legacy created by Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi, the successors of both the parties have admitted that they are no match to the leaders in whose name they seek an opportunity to govern. Now, this gives parties and leaders waiting in the wings to try and win the confidence of people in the absence of Amma and Kalaignar.

Besides AIADMK and DMK, there are two more fronts with one led by TTV Dhinakaran and the second by actor Kamal Haasan. Then there are four other regional parties that have not allied with anyone. Those that are not in alliance are Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi ( contesting on 234) Armstrong’s Bahujan Samaj Party (65), K Krishnasamy-led Puthiya Tamilagam (60) and Republican Party of India of CK Thamizharasan (16). Among these, Seeman has created some buzz but not enough to translate that into seats. In 2016, Seeman contested on 234 seats but could not win even one, the vote share was just above 1.07 per cent.

Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) and Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazagam (AMMK) are new players in town, and are hoping to corner some pie in the state politics. But all opinion polls conducted so far provide no indication of any change in the mood of the people who normally vote to punish a leader or party and that can be done by only backing those who can defeat the incumbent. Almost all polls have predicted the return of the DMK with over 150 of 234 seats. Dhinakaran’s PMK is projected to get 1-5 while Haasan’s MNM predicted to bag 2-6, if these numbers hold true it would be a big setback for Kamal Haasan.

The last assembly election results showed that just two major parties, AIADMK-40.88 per cent and DMK- 31.39 per cent, cornered 72.27 per cent vote share. The other three largest parties could not even cross double digits and their percentage was 6.47 per cent votes for Congress, 5.36 per cent for Pattali Makkal Katchi of Ramadoss, 2.86 per cent for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While Congress is contesting with DMK, the BJP is with the AIADMK. At least 11 partiers’ vote share was less than the vote percentage of NOTA. Of all, five parties had contested on 234 seats but could win none.

Going by what has happened in the past and what opinion polls have predicted, the state’s electorate looks settled with the AIADMK and DMK for now.

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