Double incumbency, Dhinakaran and DMK: Tamil Nadu LS polls a multitude that could not be worse for BJP, AIADMK

“Who is better…? Is it Gujarat’s Modi or… Tamil Nadu’s lady?” former AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister late Jayalalithaa asked throughout a rally in Chennai in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

“Lady,” the amused crowd roared. It may need sounded to them higher than any nursery rhyme they’d heard.

Jayalalithaa’s All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) swept the ballot in Tamil Nadu within the 2014 polls successful 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats. She refused to attend Modi’s swearing-in because the prime minister on the excuse that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited.

File picture of Prime Minister Naredra Modi, Tamil Nadu chief minister Okay Palaniswami and PMK founder Ramadoss. PTI

But Modi and Jayalalithaa had been expensive buddies earlier. In 2002, Jayalalithaa had attended Modi’s swearing-in as Gujarat chief minister. In 2008, solely a few weeks after he took oath as the Chief Minister of Gujarat once more, Modi had visited her house in Chennai and had a two-hour-long Pongal lunch with Jayalalithaa. Modi had flown to Chennai in 2011 to observe the AIADMK chief take oath because the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. A yr later, she was as soon as once more a star visitor at his oath-taking in Gandhinagar. At some level, the political arithmetic or private chemistry or each, went awry. It was a love-hate relationship by which the proportion of affection declined step by step until solely hate remained — or so it appeared.

While it was ‘Gujarat’s Modi versus Tamil Nadu’s woman’ throughout the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it is ‘Modi is our daddy’ for the AIADMK in 2019. The celebration has shaped an alliance with the BJP together with different native events for the 2019 Lok Sabha election within the state on 18 April.

It’s troublesome to say for certain whether or not or not Jayalalithaa would have joined fingers with the BJP once more if she was alive, however the AIADMK and its predominant native rival DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) have been flip-flopping between Congress and BJP for causes which have as a lot to do with ideology as a watermelon has to do with a nuclear bomb:

Year of Lok Sabha ballot Whether AIADMK aligned with Congress or BJP Seats AIADMK gained (out of complete 39) Whether DMK aligned with Congress or BJP Seats DMK gained  (out of complete 39)
2019 BJP NA Cong NA
2014 Neither 37 Neither 0
2009 Third Front 9 Cong 18
2004 BJP 0 Cong 16
1999 Congress 10 BJP 12
1998 BJP 18 United Front 6
1996 Congress 0 United Front 17

National events again in focus

Aside from the truth that that is the primary election with out AIADMK queen bee Jayalalithaa and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi (who died in August 2018), that is additionally the primary time in 14 years that each nationwide events — BJP and Congress — are again in alliances with the 2 predominant Dravidian events of the state.

It was in 2004 that the BJP had a tie-up with AIADMK, and the Congress with the DMK. After 2004, that is the primary time BJP is tying up with a predominant Dravidian celebration although it has been sharing seats with smaller ones. The DMK continued its alliance with Congress in 2009, however deserted it in 2013, protesting in opposition to the Centre’s stand on Sri Lankan Tamils. Having resumed its affiliation with Congress within the 2016 Assembly ballot, the DMK goes forward with it within the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as properly. So, the state is again to the 2004 form of state of affairs, although the composition of alliances by way of smaller events varies.

Of the state’s 39 seats, DMK and AIADMK are contesting in 20 seats every, leaving the remainder to alliance companions. While Congress is contesting in 9  seats, the BJP has put up candidates in 5 seats of their respective alliances. The 2014 Modi wave obviated the necessity for the BJP to have any assist from Tamil Nadu events, however the looming uncertainty over the 2019 outcome makes them as soon as once more potential king-makers.

The BJP started eyeing Tamil Nadu early on. Modi’s makes an attempt to woo Jayalalithaa again into the BJP fold, whereas maintaining the choice of allying with the DMK open, started not lengthy after his 2014 victory. The BJP’s perspective in direction of both celebration was, nevertheless, marked by overconfidence in a rising Hindutva that bordered on conceitedness. The so-called vacuum brought on by the deaths of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi introduced what regarded like a chance. But the chance was noticed by three others too: TTV Dhinakaran, the nephew of Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala (now in a Bengaluru jail) who break up the AIADMK, in addition to actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan.

Mess that could not be worse

Lacklustre governance by AIADMK  chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam would have been sufficiently unhealthy sufficient. To that, add an anti-Modi sentiment that has been rising in direct proportion to the recognition of DMK. Add to that once more, the potential for Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam celebration reducing into the standard AIADMK vote. For the BJP, it’s a multitude which could not be worse.

The solely hope for the leaders of AIADMK and BJP appears to return from caste permutations. They hope the mixture of EPS’ Gounder neighborhood, OPS’ Thevars and the Vinniyars represented by the Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) celebration, which can be a part of their alliance, will work like a breeze. But they’re most likely underestimating the double anti-incumbency — in opposition to the AIADMK within the state and BJP on the Centre — and in addition the truth that Dhinakaran too is a Thevar.

The double anti-incumbency comes with double significance, because the by-elections which can be additionally being held to fill 22 vacant seats within the Tamil Nadu Assembly can determine the destiny of the EPS-OPS authorities within the state on the identical time.

Reverse sweep?

The DMK alliance is hoping to play a reverse sweep that would make Virat Kohli really feel insecure. If the AIADMK did a clear sweep of seats in 2014, the DMK now hopes to do the reverse. There aren’t too many doubts in regards to the edge the DMK mixture has. The solely dialogue that occurs centres across the variety of seats that the DMK will go away for AIADMK. And if the Modi-Shah duo is trying to make up for losses elsewhere in India with some swashbuckling positive aspects in Tamil Nadu, they have to look elsewhere.

The writer tweets as @sprasadindia

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