Dalit movements in Tamil Nadu are upbeat over the DMK government reserving the Chennai Mayor’s post for a Scheduled Caste women, after a similar decision in respect of the Tambaram Mayor’s post.
This is considered as a significant political move by the DMK in the run-up to the urban local body elections.
Talking to IANS, Dalit activist K.R. Ramasami, said: “Announcing that Chennai Mayor post is reserved for Dalits does need courage. The DMK has exactly done that and this has sealed the prominence of DMK among the Dalit community. There is no turning back for the party from now on.”
While the Chennai Mayor post was reserved for Dalits in this election, reserving it for Dalit women is a masterstroke of the DMK which left the opposition stumped.
Samiooha Samathva Padi President and former IAS officer P. Sivakami said: “It’s a decision that is to be welcomed whole-heartedly but the candidate must be good, otherwise the good decision will recoil. If the candidate is not good enough, then there will be talk that it was a mistake and that should never happen.”
Speaking to IANS, Dalit leader and Tamil Nadu State Dalit Women Movement President K. I. Ganga noted: “The decision is a very important one but the government of the day must properly act and implement it.”
Meanwhile, the AIADMK, which had an upper hand among woman voters, has lost this edge after the demise of party supremo J. Jayalalithaa and the expulsion of V.K. Sasikala from the party.
“The AIADMK had a good chance when we were in power to make this announcement. However we didn’t take the risk and now DMK is at an advantage as the Dalits are the voting populace and do come out of their homes and vote,” a senior AIADMK leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.