Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

TN Urban Polls: AIADMK, BJP in Harmony Despite Split, DMK Allies Fight Each Other

Neelambaran A |
The AIADMK and BJP continue to target the DMK during the urban local body polls campaign, while the local issues of concern have taken a back seat.

Representational use only.

The civic body polls scheduled on February 19 are set to witness contests between the allies of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). After disagreeing on seat sharing, the alliance partners have fielded their own candidates in several areas. But, the parties have stated that the arrangement is exclusively for the particular local body and has no role in affecting the unity of the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA).

On the other hand, though the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are contesting independently, they are united in attacking the DMK and not uttering a word of criticism against each other.

Both DMK and AIADMK leaderships have taken action on the rebel candidates contesting the polls against the official candidates and those contesting against the allies' candidates where the seat-sharing was agreed on.

Contrary to the prominence of local issues dominating the campaign in the urban local body (ULB) elections, national and state-level matters have taken centre stage with the aggressive movements of the parties.


The AIADMK and the BJP parted ways after paralysis in the seat-sharing talks for the single-phase ULB polls but announced the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is intact. The AIADMK was not prepared to concede seats as demanded by the BJP, leading to the temporary snapping of ties.

During the campaign, both the AIADMK and BJP seems to have hit a harmony in attacking the DMK. The AIADMK appears to echo the policies of the BJP more than the BJP leaders themselves do. Former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami even claimed that the state will face elections in 2024 if the ‘One nation, One Election’ policy of the BJP-led government is under consideration.

Another common factor in the campaign of both parties are the reference to the poll promises of the DMK during the run-up to the assembly elections. The AIADMK and BJP leaders continue to claim that the DMK has not fulfilled their poll promises on Rs 1,000 aid for women in each family, jewel loan waiver and exemption from NEET.

War of words escalated between the leaders of the DMK and AIADMK after EPS spoke about the possible elections in 2024. MK Stalin accused AIADMK of surrendering to the BJP to save the party and government at the cost of the state's rights. “The AIADMK surrendered before the BJP for completing the tenure in office (after the demise of J Jayalalitha).” He accused the AIADMK of 'dubbing' for the BJP leadership.

The BJP has accused that the DMK's poll promises remained only on paper and have not been implemented. The party has been vociferous about the achievements of the Modi government despite the drubbing it faced in the 2019 general elections and 2021 assembly elections. The efforts to communalise the public by invoking religious sentiments remain futile. The party leaders continue to bat for NEET, despite the severe outrage in the state.

The party has not been vociferous on the local issues tightening the common public due to the absence of local bodies for the past seven years. But the party has been invoking religious beliefs, including spreading misinformation on the demolition of temples by the DMK government, for which several BJP leaders were booked.


Though the DPA has been intact and bonded since 2019, the disagreement on seat allocation for the ULBs has forced the parties in the alliance to contest on their own in several local bodies.

The Congress party had initially shown dissent over the lower number of seats allocated to it but decided to go ahead with the alliance wherever the agreements were arrived upon. A similar decision was taken by the CPI(M) as well.

Kanyakumari district, a stronghold of these three parties, is a classic example of the allies fighting each other, particularly in the western part. In Kuzhithurai and Kollemcode municipalities, DMK, Congress and CPI(M) have fielded their own candidates against one another. In most of the town panchayats, a similar contest prevails.

In Nagercoil Corporation, though the DMK and Congress are fighting together, the CPI(M) is fighting independently. Owing to the refusal of seats, the CPI(M) is contesting against its partners in the historical Padmanabhapuram municipality.

The Congress is contesting alone in Perambalur district, citing a lower allocation of seats from the DMK.

The issue of rebel candidates has plagued both the DMK and AIADMK, leading to the parties taking action against those contesting against official candidates. In Tiruppur municipal corporation, 17 DMK rebel candidates filed nominations, and seven are in the fray.

With multi-cornered contests in the ULBs, such rebels and allies fighting each other could hamper the prospects, at least in a few civic bodies.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram