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Churning in TN ahead of polls

The world may be in the midst of a pandemic, but the political show must go on. With state Assembly elections scheduled for next year in Tamil Nadu, the churning has begun.

Published: 05th August 2020 07:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th August 2020 07:46 AM   |  A+A-

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The world may be in the midst of a pandemic, but the political show must go on. With state Assembly elections scheduled for next year in Tamil Nadu, the churning has begun. Despite the noise generated by smaller parties (and in TN, this includes the BJP), the contest itself is expected to be between the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK. The AIADMK is allied with the saffron party, which was seen as a liability in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

The DMK, which has been out of power for two consecutive terms, hopes for a breakthrough. Interestingly, the AIADMK has started overtly distancing itself from the BJP, taking swift action against right-wing figures—a 21-year-old was booked under the NSA for splashing saffron paint on a Periyar statue. The party has also slammed alleged attempts to ‘saffronise’ its icons, late CMs M G Ramachandran and C N Annadurai. The AIADMK was also among those who moved the courts seeking OBC reservation be implemented in the all-India quota for medical admissions.

Further, on Monday, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami reiterated the party’s commitment to the two-language formula and showcased his Dravidian credentials, describing the National Education Policy as “disappointing”. Meanwhile, members of other parties, including the BJP, have been flocking to the DMK in recent months, an indication of which way opportunistic politicos believe the wind will blow next year. But the opposition party has problems of its own.

Recently, former deputy House Speaker V P Duraisamy left the DMK for the saffron party. More embarrassingly, on Tuesday, a sitting MLA, representing a constituency from which party chief M K Stalin was elected four times, was said to be switching to the BJP. The MLA denied it but his speech after meeting BJP leaders in Delhi suggested something was amiss. More high-profile departures may follow, suggesting the DMK’s internal politics may prove stumbling blocks to success. Clearly, ideology is not enough. Still, though the BJP has directly and indirectly tried to force a debate between Hindu identity and Dravidian ideology in the state, the key contenders have only sought to reaffirm their social justice roots, indicating a belief that the BJP’s time in TN has yet to come.



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