CHENNAI: The MDMK’s decision to boycott the upcoming by-elections to three Mayoral and seven municipal chairman posts will dampen the BJP’s grand plans to emerge as the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu, replacing the DMK.
The absence of DMK in the fray would have provided an opportunity for the BJP front to attract a sizeable chunk of the anti-AIADMK votes. However, the boycott announced by the Vaiko-led party is likely to diminish the chances of the BJP, which aims at consolidating the strong inroads it has made ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections.
Though technically the BJP has the support of the MDMK, along with DMDK, enthusiastic participation of the cadre of these two parties is doubtful if they are not directly in the fray. With their notable presence, both the MDMK and the DMDK could have ensured a decent performance by the saffron front.
Contesting the 2011 civic poll on its own, the MDMK polled 18.68 per cent votes in Thoothukudi Mayoral elections and about four per cent votes in Coimbatore and Tirunelveli.
The DMDK, which joined hands with the CPI (M) to face the local body polls, secured 5.37 per cent votes in Tirunelveli and 4.72 per cent votes in Thoothukudi, while leaving Coimbatore for its Left ally.
Even in Vriddhachalam, the DMDK garnered 12.36 per cent votes, while getting 6.99 votes in Arakkonam. The party received 11.19 per cent votes in Kodaikanal, 15.33 per cent in Coonoor and 5.13 per cent in Ramanathapuram and 5.01 per cent votes in Sankarankoil. It did not contest in Pudukottai and Cuddalore, which were left to its ally, the CPM.
The MDMK polled around five per cent votes in Sankarankoil and about two per cent votes each in Cuddalore, Pudukottai, Vriddhachalam, Arakkonam and Ramanathapuram.
Notable performance of the BJP include securing about four per cent votes in Coimbatore Mayor elections, polling 8.11 per cent votes in Ramanathapuram town and 5.87 per cent votes in Coonoor.
As such, according to electoral arithmetic, the BJP front’s vote share would touch nearly 25 per cent in Thoothukudi Mayoral polls, while a decent performance is possible in Vriddhachalam, Kodaikanal, Coonoor and Sankarankoil. However, going by the results of the 2011 elections, the PMK ploughing a lonely furrow as was the case last time might not impact the BJP’s fortunes as the Vanniyar-dominant party’s vote share is negligible in poll-bound areas.
Indicating its downward spiral, the PMK which contested all the three Mayoral posts managed to get less than one per cent vote in each city. In the municipalities, barring Vriddhachalam, it did not perform notably in the other seven municipalities.