Chennai: With AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala all set to take over the reins of the state, the opposition DMK is keenly watching the choice of her Assembly constituency since she must get elected to the House within six months.
Even if Sasikala clears the first hurdle of the wealth case, the verdict of which is expected to be delivered within a week, she will have to face the electorate in one of the constituencies to stay in the post.
Though RK Nagar remains vacant after the demise of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala entering the fray from the seat is doubtful as the constituency falls within Chennai city where the DMK is traditionally strong.
A seat in the southern districts where the concentration of Mukkulathors, the OBC community to which Sasikala belongs, could be considered a safe seat for her by the AIADMK. But, the DMK will go all out to defeat Sasikala and nip her political career in the bud, a DMK functionary said. He said it would be too early to comment on the party strategy without knowing the AIADMK leader's choice of constituency.
The race between the AIADMK and DMK was exceedingly close in the 2016 Assembly elections, but the AIADMK votes went past the 50 per cent mark in Usilampatti and Andipatti in Theni district. The DMK garnered about 36 per cent votes and lost by over 30,000 votes in both the seats. Mukkalathor votes are very high in both seats and at the moment relying on caste votes could be a better option than depending on AIADMK's traditional vote base in other parts of the state, including the Kongu region.
In Andipatti, the AIADMK has won seven times, while the DMK managed to win only twice, ever since AIADMK entered the elections in 1977. However, caste equations heavily favour Sasikala in Usilampatti, a bastion of All India Forward Block, the party of Mukkulathor icon and freedom fighter Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar. Since, 1957, various factions of AIFB had won the seat, barring 2006 and 1989. The AIADMK was successful in 2006 and in 1989, the AIFB candidate Vallarasu won in DMK symbol.
In Thirumangalam, won by minister Udhayakumar, only 10 per cent votes separate the AIADMK and DMK. Besides, the MDMK, if it chose to contest in the seat, could carry away a substantial chunk of votes in the constituency where the PWA got about 10 per cent votes in 2016 Assembly polls.
In Usilampatti and Andipatti, other parties like the MDMK, DMDK and Left could not pose much of a problem for the ruling party going by the polling in the previous elections....