Poll boycott by AIADMK unhealthy, say analysts

However, AIADMK functionaries deny this contention and are confident that the party will successfully overcome this impasse and win the 2026 Assembly elections.
AIADMK flag used for representational purpose
AIADMK flag used for representational purpose(File photo | Express)

CHENNAI: Political analysts are of the view that the AIADMK’s decision to boycott the byelection to Vikravadi constituency will further demoralise the grassroots level cadre of the party who were already dejected by the rout in the Lok Sabha elections. However, AIADMK functionaries deny this contention and 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 byelections to Assembly constituencies and to local bodies in the past, they argue that AIADMK boycotting the byelection will have a different effect on the party since it came just after the LS poll debacle.

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, the AIADMK gives space for the BJP to grow further. Edappadi 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. Palaniswami seems to have understood this scenario and hence decided to boycott this byelection. Probably, he took this decision to avoid certain ruptures within the party blowing further.”

Senior journalist Durai Karuna said boycotting this byelection would weaken the AIADMK. He recalled that the AIADMK started its political innings through a byelection in Dindigul Lok Sabha constituency in 1973. The then fledgling party led by MGR faced the Congress 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.

AIADMK flag used for representational purpose
Analysts say boycotting Vikravandi bypoll will demoralise AIADMK cadre but party leaders back EPS' decision
AIADMK flag used for representational purpose
AIADMK to boycott Vikravandi assembly bypoll

The candidates put forth by these parties are well-known faces. By introducing a new face 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 cadre showed it in the Lok Sabha election. Though the party had more than two crore members, it could secure not even half of that in the LS polls. If Palaniswami 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 party cadre are demoralised. He said EPS has taken a shrewd move at an appropriate juncture.

“The 2026 Assembly election is important for the AIADMK and not a byelection. We have seen what the ruling DMK could do to win a bypoll 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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