Analysts say boycotting Vikravandi bypoll will demoralise AIADMK cadre but party leaders back EPS' decision

Analysts argue that the AIADMK boycotting the Vikravandi by-election will have a different effect on the party since it came just after the rout in the Lok Sabha elections.
AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami
AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K PalaniswamiFile Photo| EPS

CHENNAI: Political analysts are of the view that the AIADMK's decision to boycott the by-election to the Vikravadi Assembly constituency will further demoralise the grassroots-level cadre of the party, who were already dejected by the rout in the Lok Sabha elections.

However, the AIADMK functionaries are confident that the party will successfully overcome this impasse and win the 2026 Assembly elections.

Though political analysts point out that the DMK too boycotted by-elections to Assembly constituencies and by-elections to local bodies in the past, they argue that the AIADMK boycotting the Vikravandi by-election will have a different effect on the party since it came just after the rout in the Lok Sabha elections.

Professor Ramu Manivannan said, "Boycotting an election is not a healthy decision for a political party in anticipation of irregularities by the ruling party. Also, by staying away from this by-election, the AIADMK gives space for the BJP to grow further. Palaniswami's recent assertions against the BJP will be questioned by his stand in this election."

"But the decision of the AIADMK leadership shows that the party is not united. The AIADMK is being attacked from both within and outside. EPS seems to have understood this scenario and hence decided to boycott this by-election. Probably, EPS took this decision to avoid certain ruptures within the party blowing further," he added.

Senior journalist Durai Karuna said that boycotting this by-election would weaken the AIADMK.

He recalled that the AIADMK started its political innings through a by-election in the Dindigul Lok Sabha constituency in 1973.

The fledgling party led by MGR faced the Congress party, which was the ruling party at the Centre, INC(O) led by veteran leader K Kamaraj and the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, the DMK. The candidates put forth by these parties are well-known faces. However, by introducing a new face in K Mayathevar, MGR's AIADMK defeated all the opponents.

"The AIADMK, despite securing a significant number of votes in the past election as well as in the Lok Sabha election, will push the grassroots level workers into an ocean of demoralisation. The cadres showed it in the Lok Sabha elections. Though the party had more than two crore members, it would secure not even half of that in the LS polls. If EPS fails to make course corrections at least at this juncture, the AIADMK will face the worst election debacles in the future," he added.

However, AIADMK spokesperson G Samarasam stoutly denied the argument that the party cadres are demoralised. He said EPS has made a shrewd move at an appropriate juncture.

"The 2026 Assembly election is important for the AIADMK and not a by-election. We have seen what the ruling DMK could do to win a by-election in Erode East. So, the AIADMK will win the next Assembly elections," he added.

A few other senior functionaries, on the condition of anonymity, expressed concern about the present situation but said the party leadership took the right decision.

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