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TN: DMK Upbeat With Strong Alliances, AIADMK Skeptical with Weak Partners

Translated by Neelambaran A
The DMK-led alliance remains a formidable force in the state while this election is being seen as an acid test for AIADMK, as BJP tries to woo the latter’s votes citing ‘weak’ leadership.
M K Stalin

File Photo/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With the two major political fronts in Tamil Nadu finalising seat-sharing agreements and announcing candidates, the battle lines are clearly drawn for the upcoming general elections scheduled on April 19 in a single phase.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) is set to launch its campaign on March 22 from Tiruchi. 

The All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), after snapping ties with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will be contesting the elections along with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK). The party general secretary and former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) has announced candidates for the 32 constituencies it is contesting. 

The BJP, the leading party of the National Democratic Front (NDA), has stitched an alliance with the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and some other regional outfits, and is betting high from the 19 constituencies where it is directly contesting. Four other parties, allocated with one seat each, are contesting on BJP’s election symbol. 

The DMK, despite minor issues of governance, is hoping to repeat the near-clean sweep the SPA achieved, winning 38 of the 39 constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and a massive victory in the 2021 Assembly elections.  



The DMK has managed to retain its allies, managing a formidable INDIA bloc, since the previous general elections, including the Indian National Congress (INC), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Communist Party of India (CPI), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) besides a couple of regional parties extending support for the alliance. 

The party will be contesting from 21 constituencies, with the INC fielding candidates from nine seats, 2 each for CPI(M), CPI and VCK, one each for IUML, MDMK, with the Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi (KMDK) contesting on the DMK symbol.

The DMK, in its manifesto has promised to slash the prices of petroleum products, steps to abolish the office of the Governor, citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamils, abolition of toll plazas, among others. The Chief Minister and party chief, M K Stalin, and others eluded confidence of the INDIA bloc capturing power and implement the promises of the party. 

The DMK is reportedly planning its campaign based on the promises fulfilled by the party after assuming power in the state in 2021. The free bus travel for women in town buses, Rs 1,000 for women heads of families, cash relief during the COVID-19 pandemic besides others. 

However, the recent incidents of drug seizures, issues pertaining to the running of AMMA Canteens, increase in property and house taxes, upward revision of electric tariff are few things that seem to be working against the ruling party in the state. 



The AIADMK has a point to prove in the upcoming general elections. The party managed to win only one seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and was handed defeat by DMK in 2021 in the Assembly polls, after remaining in office since 2011.

The AIADMK has fielded 32 candidates, while handing over five seats to DMDK and one each for the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Puthiya Tamizhagam (PT) Katchi. 

The party is facing challenges of facing loss of votes, with the formation of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) by former AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhaga Cadres Right Retrieval Organisation by former chief minister O Paneer Selvam (OPS). 

The AIADMK, now under the sole control of EPS after a judicial victory over OPS, after a prolonged lull, has become active in the past four months after snapping ties with BJP. The party has taken up issues of public interest, including the recent haul of drugs from several parts of the state. 

Though the party is deprived of a charismatic leadership, EPS has taken up the mantle of leading the party with an array of leaders from the western part of the state, considered a safe fortress for AIADMK since its formation. 

The party, however, is plagued by recurring raids by the Enforcement Directorate on several former ministers on graft charges, the recent being the raids on premises related to former health minister Vijaya Baskar



The efforts of BJP to bring back AIADMK to its fold have failed miserably, forcing the party to rope in smaller, regional outfits hardly known even to the people of the state, except the PMK led by former Union minister Anbumani Ramadoss, which was allocated 10 seats.

The Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) led by G K Vasan will contest from three seats and the AMMK will be fielding candidates from two constituencies. Former chief minister OPS is set to contest as an independent from Ramanathapuram, while Puthiya Neethi Katchi, Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi, Indhiya Makkal Kalvi Munnetra Kazhagam and Tamilaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, all relatively unknown parties, will contest as BJP candidates in one seat each. 

The BJP’s attempts to make an impact in the state on the electoral front has not many much impact so far. The party leaders recently held a vehicle jatha across the Assembly segments in an apparent attempt to win over votes. The party has fielded Tamilisai Soundarrajan (South Chennai), Union minister of state L Murugan (Nilgris), former Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan (Kanniyakumari) among other senior leaders. 

Despite the presence of AIADMK and BJP in few constituencies, the DMK-led alliance seems to have a clear edge with chances of it repeating its 2019 performance. 

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