DMK rides on little parties for Dalit votes; AIADMK gives BJP a foothold

Coalition politics is now the order of the day, both nationally and state-wise. — IANS

Arun Lakshman

Chennai, July 22 (IANS) Coalition politics is now the order of the day, both nationally and state-wise. In Tamil Nadu, two major coalition groups have already been formed — the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on one side and the DMK-led alliance on the other side — in view of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The DMK-led alliance can either be the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) that fought the 2021 assembly elections victoriously or the newly formed national level alliance, Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

The picture of NDA is becoming clearer with the principal opposition party of Tamil Nadu, AIADMK part of the alliance. The BJP national leadership has already invited the powerful Vanniyar political party, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the Tamil Manila Congress led by former Union Minister GK Vasan, the son of towering Congress leader, late GK Moopanar.

In the DMK-led alliance, there are more political parties including the Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), CPI, CPI-M, IUML, All India Forward Block, MDMK, Manithaneya Makkal Desia Katchi (MMDK), Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi.

Interestingly in the DMK alliance, the political parties like Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Left parties have deep inroads in the Dalit hamlets of the state. Being bigger parties, the DMK and the Congress would derive power and energy from the strength of smaller parties like the VCK, MDMK, Left parties and also the Muslim political parties like the Indian Union Muslim League and Manithaneya Makkal Desiya Katchi.

On the other hand in the National Democratic Alliance of Tamil Nadu, BJP has gained the support of the powerful Dravidian political party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) which has ruled Tamil Nadu several terms.

The BJP national leadership is trying to rope in the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) which is the political arm of the powerful Vanniyar group, that has a major say in many districts of Tamil Nadu.

It is to be noted that PMK was an ally of the BJP in the 2021 assembly elections but in the local body polls, it snapped ties with the saffron camp and contested the polls alone. However in the recent NDA meet in New Delhi, PMK attended the meet and this has boosted the prospects of NDA highly.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the DMK-led alliance had won majestically bagging 38 of the 39 seats. The one seat that was won by the AIADMK was Theni constituency where the son of former Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam (OPS), O. Raveendranathan won the  seat. However now, OPS and his son are expelled from the AIADMK.

The massive win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the 2021 victory in the assembly polls have given the DMK the much needed advantage in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin has already called for the alliance to win all the 39 seats in  Tamil Nadu and the one seat in Puducherry which is currently with the AIADMK.

The DMK alliance and Stalin are in high spirits as the performance of the state is comparatively good with the government taking initiative to implement several socially relevant schemes. This includes morning breakfast scheme to children in government schools, health at door steps, skill development programme, bridge courses for students who drop out of schools.

The state  government has also announced Rs 1000 monthly aid to women head of families under the Kalaignar Magalir Urmai Thittam (Kalaignar Womenโ€™s Entitlement Scheme) who falls under the BPL bracket. The scheme will be rolled out from September 15 and the state government has allocated Rs 7000 crore for this project.

Chief Minister Stalin has told media persons that the government expects around 1.5 crore applicants for this scheme but will have stringent checks to finalise the beneficiaries.

While both the Dravidian parties, DMK and AIADMK are having strong vote bank in the state, the smaller parties who have their own strong holds will act as the support base for these major parties.

BJP, which was a non-entity in Tamil Nadu politics, won four MLAs in the 2021 assembly elections after the alliance with the AIADMK, and with the PMK and the Tamil Manila Congress also becoming part of the party in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the NDA is expecting to fare well.

Interestingly, the BJP has set its eyes on Tamil Nadu and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah had during the last month visit to the state called upon the NDA cadres to win 25 out of the 39 Lok Sabha seats from the state.

In Puducherry, BJP is in a political alliance with the All India N.R. Congress and this has reaped rich dividends for the party. The BJP, like in Tamil Nadu, was a non-entity in Puducherry but is now sharing power with the AINRC in the union territory of Puducherry.

While the AINRC has 10 MLAs, the BJP has six MLAs in its kitty in the union territory. Interestingly in 2016 assembly elections, the BJP did not get a single seat from the union uerritory.

C. Rajeev, Director, Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a think-tank based out of Chennai while speaking to IANS said, “The BJP is trying to enter southern states in a big way and it has already tasted success in Puducherry and will try to replicate the same in Tamil Nadu. The alliance with the AIADMK is giving BJP the much needed hope in the state. DMK has a bigger alliance and is leaving no stone unturned. The support of VCK and the Left parties will garner it the Dalit votes while the IUML and the MMDK will garner it Muslim votes.โ€

The DMK is also trying to rope in cine star and politician Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam is likely to be roped into the DMK alliance thus giving the party alliance the much needed glamour quotient.

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