CHENNAI: The substantial victory in Vikravandi and Nanguneri bypolls has come as a morale booster for AIADMK, proving Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s mettle as an efficient organiser.
Besides, the results have strengthened the stability of his government, and are being considered as an endorsement of his governance. The victory is expected to boost the Chief Minister’s image within his party.
As a result, pundits say, AIADMK will have better bargaining power when it begins seat-sharing talks with allies for the ensuing local body elections. It was widely speculated that Puthiya Tamilagam deciding to boycott the elections would hurt its ally AIADMK’s prospects in Nanguneri, where it has a significant presence. However, AIADMK still won by a comfortable margin of over 30,000 votes.
In the 234-member Assembly, the AIADMK has increased its strength from 123 to 125 (including the Speaker) while the DMK’s strength has come down to 100 MLAs. The strength of the Congress too has come down to seven.
Ever since AC Shanmugam, who contested as part of the ruling alliance, was narrowly defeated from the Vellore parliamentary seat, Palaniswami has been speculating a big change in the mindset of the electorate within the next two months. He had also said the change would reflect in the bypolls. He has been proven right.
“After the death of Amma (J Jayalalithaa), there was a notion that the party had become weak, and that it lacked coordination while facing elections. That image has been thwarted by this victory,” says Avadi P Kumar, AIADMK spokesperson. Kumar also underscored that the candidates fielded by the party were not big personalities, but those who rose from humble beginnings. “But, everyone in the party supported and worked for them. All ministers camped in the areas allotted to them and mingled with people.
“Further, these by-elections have also proved that Amma has left behind efficient functionaries and cadre who have compensated her absence,” he says. Political analyst Raveenthran Thuraisamy says “The AIADMK’s victory in the by-elections has proved that Edappadi K Palaniswami is an efficient organiser. It will increase his stakes in the party further.”
He says that ahead of the by-elections, despite the threat by Puthiya Tamilagam (PT) to boycott the by-elections, the Chief Minister refused to budge with regard to its demand.
“By adopting a strategic silence, knowing there will be big opposition to the matter, Palaniswami refrained from antagonising any group on the issue of renaming certain subsects of Devendrakula Vellalars, while removing them from the SC list. Further, he made it clear through his cabinet colleagues that VK Sasikala would not be readmitted to AIADMK.”
It was widely speculated that Puthiya Tamilagam deciding to boycott the elections would hurt its ally AIADMK’s prospects in Nanguneri, where it has a significant presence. However, AIADMK still won by a comfortable margin