Sunday, June 16, 2024

DMK set to be a major driver of Oppn unity ahead of 2024 LS polls

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which is aiming to win all 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and one seat in Puducherry in 2024, is trying to take up a major role in next years general elections.

If DMK and its allies, who form the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA), garner maximum seats in 2024 elections, it will be a major boost for the Opposition at the centre and the ruling front of Tamil Nadu as the front is far ahead of the NDA alliance of AIADMK-BJP in the state.

If DMK and its alliance will not win all the seats from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry still the front will make sure to win maximum seats in the upcoming elections.

Other than Tamil Nadu, the opposition is likely to get a large number of seats from Kerala, where the opposition in all probability will win all the 20 seats. However in Karnataka, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh, the possibility of the opposition winning the maximum number of seats is less.

In the 2019 general elections, BJP could win only four seats in Telengana out of the 17 seats and won 27 in Karnataka while losing the 2023 assembly elections. BJP stands a chance to win at least half of the seats. Situation in Andhra Pradesh is different with the ruling YSR Congress party winning 22 of the 25 seats.

YSR Congress party has also not participated in the opposition unity meet in Patna like the BRS party. Telengana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has a different agenda and has travelled across the country to represent himself as the Prime Ministerial candidate.

Other than Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the opposition may not get maximum seats from South India making Stalin a major player for the opposition unity.

After the arrest of Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), Stalin openly said that the DMK cannot be cowed down by using central agencies and that the party was ready for tit-for-tat.

Interestingly, Tamil Nadu police arrested S.J. Suryah, BJP state office-bearer on charges of a fake social media post and later an AIADMK district office bearer of Erode district for another social media post.

The BJP State President K. Annamalai, an IPS officer turned politician, openly came out against Stalin and the DMK by bringing out DMK files, it was clear that BJP would fight back against DMK.

However, Stalin is only getting stronger in the state following his win during the 2021 election and bringing in investment and uplifting the social parameters of the state.

After taking over as Chief Minister of the state, Stalin envisaged several social programmes, including ‘Makkale Thedi Maruthum’, which is health at the doorstep, ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ for children to compensate the learning loss due to Covid-19 pandemic, and several other schemes brining Stalin and his DMK in direct contact with the people.

Meanwhile, the AIADMK — the principal opposition party of Tamil Nadu — is a divided house. One of its stalwarts and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam (OPS) was expelled from the party by the incumbent General Secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS).

Pertinently, OPS is from the powerful Thevar community which has considerable sway in South Tamil Nadu and can decide the fate of several seats in the districts like Madurai, Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari, Theni and others.

In 2019 general elections, while DMK won 38 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won only Theni, Lok Sabha seat. The AIADMK candidate was O.P. Raveendranathan, son of O. Panneerselvam (OPS), showing the hold of OPS in his home town district.

The current leadership of the AIADMK has also expelled former interim general secretary V. K. Sasikala who was also the former aide of late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.

She is also a Thevar like OPS and has considerable influence among the Thevar community. Sasikala’s nephew and former MLA T. T. V Dhinakaran who was also expelled from the AIADMK, floated the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) party which has also considerable influence in South Tamil Nadu.

Add to this, the alliance between AIADMK and the BJP is rickety with the BJP State President K. Annamalai time and again coming out against the AIADMK.

The AIADMK and BJP even had a public spat with each other showing that all is not well with the AIADMK- BJP alliance in Tamil Nadu. Given the rift, there are less chances of this alliance winning seats in 2024 general elections in Tamil Nadu.

Given the background, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin is expected to play a major role in the 2024 general elections on the merit of the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) led by DMK which is trying to garner more seats.

Stalin’s father, DMK leader and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Late Muthuvel Karunanidhi, had played a pivotal role in forming the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre in 2004 and the opposition parties are expecting a similar role by M. K. Stalin in the post-electoral scenario of 2024.

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