CHENNAI: Both the Dravidian majors have deployed their entire manpower in the four Assembly constituencies where by-elections are to be held on May 19. Opposition DMK has deployed at least 16 district functionaries for every 250 voters in each of these four constituencies. Cadres have been told to visit public places like tea shops and campaign for the party even during the summer afternoon.
The ruling AIADMK too has deployed almost its entire strength and functionaries from as much as 15 of the party’s district units in each of the four constituencies. Sources said the ruling party has engaged private agencies to monitor whether party functionaries are carrying out the campaign in full vigour.
DMK has made it public that it has meticulously allocated party functionaries for every 250 voters. A party MLA who has been deployed as in-charge of a locality in Tiruparankundram constituency told Express, “Our leader has instructed us that we should carry out the election works similar to the micro-level management that BJP did in certain northern states. During afternoon hours, cadres must visit common places like tea shops and highlight the failures of BJP and AIADMK.”
People in these four constituencies are surprised by the attention they have been receiving in recent days. “We happen to see a party leader or an MLA every 100 metres,” said M Karunanidhi of Villapuram at Tirupparankundram. Also, frequent visits of state ministers have made voters feel how important their votes are, it is pointed out.
For the AIADMK, winning at least a few seats in the four bypolls is important to retain power. For DMK, winning almost in all constituencies is a must for the party to overtake the AIADMK’s strength in the Assembly and capture power.
In AIADMK camp, besides ministers, functionaries from 15 of the party’s district units have been deployed in each of the four constituencies. More importantly, they have been told to report on the ground situation to the Chief Minister.
A few private agencies said to have been engaged by the ruling party to monitor the poll campaign too are sending their reports to the chief minister. DMK president MK Stalin too is said to have set up a system where he will get reports from three different levels on the campaign and the scenario at the ground level.
Total seats in Assembly: 234
AIADMK: 114 (including Speaker)
DMK alliance: 97
Independent: 01 (AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran)
To cross halfway mark in the House of 234: 118
DMK-led alliance needs: 21 seats
AIADMK needs: 5 seats