TN Elections: Unhappy Over Seat Distribution, AIADMK Cadre Erupt in Protest
AIADMK cadres take out a protest demonstration in Tiruchi. Image Courtesy: The Hindu
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has, in total, released names of 178 candidates for the Tamil Nadu Assembly election 2021. Its alliance parties will contest 55 seats out of the rest of the 234 constituencies on behalf of the National Democratic Alliance.
On March 10, AIADMK constituency distribution was finalised with the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Following which, the AIADMK released its second round of 171 candidates.
Unease over losing some incumbent AIADMK segments to alliance parties and discontent over choice of candidates, party cadres took to the streets. They were seen staging protests in pockets where sitting MLA seats were handed over to alliance partners and incumbent ministers did not receive tickets to contest on behalf of the AIADMK.
NDA SEAT DISTRIBUTION
AIADMK’s allies PMK and BJP will contest 23 and 20 seats, respectively, in the upcoming Assembly polls.
The Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) on March 11 accepted the offer of six constituencies from the AIADMK. TMC president G K Vasan said the party will contest on the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol as the demand for the ‘Cycle’ symbol is “sub-judice”.
The five smaller parties in the alliance will contest in six seats on AIADMK’s ‘two-leaves’ symbol, which adds up the total candidates contesting on the popular symbol to 190.
Only one seat, Padmanabhapuram in the Kanyakumari district, is yet to be allocated in the NDA alliance.
Of the 30-member cabinet of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, 27 have been renominated, apparently rewarding them for supporting him during the tough times over the past four years.
Palaniswami will contest from his sitting seat and native Edappadi of Salem district, and deputy CM O Panneerselvam from Bodinayakkanpatti of Theni district.
Notably, the AIADMK has allocated only 15 seats to women in total.
BJP, PMK BAGGING AIADMK SEATS
Of the 23 constituencies given to the PMK and 20 to the BJP, the ruling party parted with 11 constituencies held by its members.
Allotting the Coimbatore South Assembly constituency seat to the BJP and not to the incumbent MLA Amman K. Arjunan was not received well by the AIADMK cadre. They staged a protest outside the area party office on March 10 opposing the move. The cadre threatened to resign en masse if the AIADMK leadership did not pay heed to their sentiments.
BJP’s national women’s wing president Vanathi Srinivasan is likely to contest from the seat. Interestingly, Arjunan had contested against her in 2016, and now the AIADMK functionaries are expected to campaign and vote for her. The actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has also announced his candidature for the Coimbatore South constituency.
Resentment over denial of tickets to their leaders was also seen in Virudhachalam district, where AIADMK MLA V.T. Kalaiselvan’s supporters staged a protest demanding the party high command to reconsider the decision to allot the seat to its ally PMK. The PMK has fielded its district secretary, G. Karthikeyan in the seat.
In constituencies where the BJP is contesting on behalf of the NDA, AIADMK functionaries are reportedly showing unwillingness to campaign for the BJP candidates.
DMK ANNOUNCES CANDIDATES
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), leader of the Secular Progressive Alliance, which is the major opposition to the AIADMK-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), released a list for 173 candidates on March 12. It retained most former Ministers and MLAs for the Assembly election, and includes only 12 women candidates.
DMK chief Stalin will contest from the Kolathur constituency in Chennai. His son, Udhayanidhi Stalin, will make his debut in electoral politics from the Chepauk-Triplicane Assembly segment, that is also in Chennai, a seat represented by his late grandfather and former CM M Karunanidhi.
A total of 187 candidates will contest under the DMK’s popular ‘rising sun’ symbol, which includes six from Vaiko’s Marmalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and three from Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi.
A day before the filing of nominations began for the Tamil Nadu Assembly election, constituencies for the Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and Communist Party of India (CPI) were identified and finalised on March 11.
TTV Dhinakaran of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) have arrived at a seat-sharing arrangement under which the AIMIM will contest three seats. The radical outfit Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which was holding talks with Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Neethi Maiam, settled for six seats in the AMMK alliance.
Some of the disappointed AIADMK leaders, who did not receive tickets from the party, have also reportedly shifted base to AMMK. The possibility of this alliance winning seats is low, but they can damage the prospects of other parties by polling a few thousand votes wherever possible. AMMK has announced only 65 candidates so far.
The MNM released its first list of candidates for 70 constituencies on March 11, out of the 154 constituencies it aims to contest in.
The list includes V Ponraj, scientific advisor to former President A P J Abdul Kalam, city-based RTI activists, retired IAS officers, a YouTuber among others.
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