Why by-polls 2019 is a litmus test for DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu
Chennai, Oct 03: By-polls for two assembly seats Vikravandi and Naguneri in Tamil Nadu will prove to be a fresh test for both the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK.
The October 21 results will be crucial as a win could alter the political arithmetic in the state, with just 18 months left for the 2021 Assembly elections.
AIADMK vs DMK
The by-polls contest will be a direct fight between the ruling AIADMK and DMK as other parties including Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam and TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam have refrained from contesting.
The ruling AIADMK has fielded MR Muthamizhselvan as the party candidate from Vikravandi and Reddiarpatti V Narayanan for the Nanguneri constituency.
The DMK has fielded 66-year old Pugazhenthi from Vikravandi and gave Nanguneri to its ally Congress.
The elections were necessiated in Vikravandi constituency after the death of the incumbent DMK legislator K Rathamani.
Nanguneri will also go to the polls on October 21, as H Vasantha Kumar who was the then sitting MLA, resigned from his post in May following his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanyakumari.
Why crucial for AIADMK and DMK
For AIADMK, a loss in bypolls may not destabilise the ruling AIADMK government, but a win is definitely be a breather as it enjoys a thin majority in the assembly.
From 1989, the ruling party had always won by-polls in Tamil Nadu. However, DMK broke the record when it won a majority of the 22 assembly seats for which bypolls that were held in May 2019.
The upcoming byelections assume special significance as the AIADMK has to win both seats to boost morale among the party cadre after the LS poll debacle.
While, the DMK has no such pressure, the party looks to retains the seats, not giving a chance for the ruling party.
The Lok Sabha debacle
The bypoll comes close on the heels of the April 18 Lok Sabha elections which the DMK and its allies swept, winning 37 of the 38 seats in the hustings then.
The AIADMK could only win the lone Theni Lok Sabha seat in the April 18 parliamentary polls.
Along with the Lok Sabha elections, bypolls were also held to 22 Assembly seats, most of which had fallen vacant following the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs who had revolted against Chief Minister K Palaniswami in August 2017.
Though DMK won 13 of the 22 seats, Palaniswami could continue in power as the nine seats the AIADMK netted added to the the ruling party's then tally of 114, taking it well beyond the simple majority mark of 117.