The 65 per cent polling at Chennai suburb Thiruvottiyur assembly constituency, much higher than the votes polled in Kolathur, Harbour or Thousand Lights, has made the members and supporters of Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) happy.
They are confident that their party leader Seeman would emerge victorious in Thiruvottiyur and enter the Tamil Nadu assembly defeating candidates of bigger parties like the ruling AIADMK and the DMK.
“The high polling in Thiruvottiyur is mainly due to the Seeman factor. Look at the polling percentage at Kolathur, Harbour and Thousand Lights where DMK President M.K. Stalin, his son Udhayanidhi Stalin and BJP’s Khushbu Sundar (a popular Tamil heroine) contested respectively. Seems Seeman was the vote puller,” a political analyst not wanting to be quoted told IANS.
The analyst said the polling in Kolathur was about 61 per cent, in Harbour it was about 60 and in Thousand Lights it was about 58 per cent while the overall average was about 59 per cent.
The NTK contested alone in all the 234 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu in the April 6 elections. The party had fielded women in 50 per cent of the seats.
Till date no member of the NTK have been elected to the state assembly.
“This time we are confident that our leader Seeman would win and enter the Tamil Nadu assembly. The polling percentage shows that people want a total change from AIADMK and DMK,” R.K. Sivakumar, State Coordinator, NTK, told IANS.
According to Sivakumar, there was good traction for the party at the ground level as the campaign focus was on the impact of the Adani port expansion project.
The NTK contested alone in the 2016 assembly polls and got a one per cent vote share. This went up to about four per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
According to the analyst, the voter segment that Seeman appeals to is between 18-40 years of age.
Prior to the polls, Seeman had announced that he would contest against Stalin but later backtracked.
“If NTK has to sustain as a political force, then Seeman has to win and enter the assembly. The polling percentage in Thiruvottiyur is high. But Seeman’s victory is doubtful. The AIADMK and DMK may lose some of their vote share to Seeman. With his fiery speeches Seeman has a good appeal amongst the youth,” political analyst Sriram Seshadri told IANS.
Seshadri said the NTK leader was not able to retain many of his party officials and those who had contested in the 2016 assembly polls.
“Seeman is wearing more or less the same hat that DMK founder late Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai and other leaders like late Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi wore, talking about Tamil language and Dravidian culture,” Seshadri said.
While the DMK was able to hold on to its initial support base and grew that, the NTK on the other hand seems to be gaining new supporters without retaining the earlier ones. This may not sustain in the long run, Seshadri added.
By spreading itself too thin and contesting in all the 234 assembly seats, the NTK seems to have reduced its strength.
“Instead NTK could have focussed on the Southern districts and beefed up its vote share so that major political parties reckon it as a major force,” Seshadri said.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)