Election campaigns in Tamil Nadu are already underway, quite unusually, with five more months to go for the assembly elections. The two major parties, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have their own missions in kickstarting their campaigns.
The AIADMK is looking to overcome the party’s internal squabbles and win a third consecutive term while the DMK is looking to capture power after a decade of being in opposition. This election will also witness the highest number of chief ministerial candidates in the fray in the absence of two stalwarts of the Dravidian parties—M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalitha.
The confusion in the AIADMK camp continues as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not endorsed the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance. A section in AIADMK is still opposed to the party forging an alliance with the BJP.
DMK CHARGESHEET AGAINST GOVT
The DMK decided to start their campaign early, given that this is the first assembly election for the party with M K Stalin as the president. A party delegation led by M K Stalin met the governor and submitted a list of corruption charges against ministers in the state cabinet, including Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.
The party is campaigning in all the assembly constituencies with a tagline: 'We Reject AIADMK', through which the party plans to conduct meetings in all the villages across the state. In a video, party leader Stalin said, “Around 1,600 leaders will visit 16,000 villages across the state to expose the failures of the government. The party will hold gramsabha meetings and adopt resolutions.”
The party is also continuing with the virtual meetings of the district units to gear up for the elections. Political observers feel that this election is crucial for the DMK and the party has everything to lose.
The party is relying on the anti-incumbency factor and the alliance arithmetic to capture power from the AIADMK. Though the DMK has been accused of projecting the heirs of the leaders in the political spectrum, the party is trying to overcome the tide.
AIADMK GOVT ON ANNOUNCEMENT SPREE
The AIADMK government has taken the weapon of various people-friendly announcements to tide over the anti-incumbency factor and is aiming for a hattrick of victories. The government announced setting up of 2,000 mini clinics to extend health care facilities to people. But the existing health facilities are expected to take a hit because of this.
In another major announcement, the government has offered a cash of Rs 2,500 and a kit to all rice cardholders of the public distribution system for the Pongal festival. The opposition parties alleged the announcement as an appeasement measure as the government has not yielded to the demand for cash reliefs during the lockdown period.
The AIADMK has hit another roadblock as the BJP continues to remain unstable on the decision to ally with the party. The BJP leadership is indecisive on accepting the chief ministerial candidate of the AIADMK. The BJP has held the view that only the national leadership will announce the CM candidate of the alliance.
This announcement has met with sharp criticism from a section of the AIADMK leaders. Also, the claims of BJP in forming a coalition cabinet after the assembly elections has been rubbished by the AIADMK leaders. The coalition partners of the AIADMK alliance are still unclear as the Vijayakanth led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and Dr Anbumani Ramadoss led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) are yet to announce their decision.
KAMAL HAASAN CLAIMS MGR’S LEGACY
After the BJP claimed stake to the legacy of the late CM and AIADMK stalwart, M G Ramachandran (MGR) during its ‘Vetrivel Yatra’, actor Kamal Haasan has thrown his hat in. The actor-turned politician and the president of Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) has staked claim to MGR’s legacy in his election campaign.
Kamal began his campaign on December 13, much before the government relaxed the guidelines for holding public meetings. The actor has been trading guns against the dravidian parties, accusing them of destroying the fabric of the state by promoting corruption and pursuing family politics.
The actor was ridiculed by the AIADMK leaders including the CM who went on to accuse that family members together can’t watch the films and shows (referring to the Big Boss Tamil host) of the actor. The actor struck back by accusing the AIADMK of amassing money using the name of MGR.
The actor also clarified that his party will take cue from Mahatma Gandhi, E V Ramasamy (Periyar) and B R Ambedkar.
RAJINIKANTH ADVISED REST
The political plunge of actor Rajinikanth could suffer another delay as he has been advised one week rest following health issues. The actor was admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad after a few crew members of his film tested positive for COVID-19. The actor tested negative but was admitted in hospital for high blood pressure.
The actor announced on December 3 that an official announcement of his political plunge will be finalised on December 31. His political entry has been due for the past couple of decades and may suffer another delay considering his health constraints.
The ideologies of the actor has always been close to that of the BJP and his announcement was received by the BJP leadership with much celebration, even overshadowing the fans of the actor themselves.
The upcoming election will have CM candidates from AIADMK, DMK and MNM. In the event of Rajinikanth foraying into politics, his party may project another CM candidate as well. The role of BJP in such a situation will be more interesting, considering its turbulent relation with the AIADMK. However, the final fight could be between the two fronts led by the DMK and the AIADMK.