CHENNAI: Despite the DMDK becoming the first party to name candidates for all 200 wards in Chennai corporation, there are widespread doubts over its sustainability as a key force in the state politics as it stares into a challenging and uncertain political future.
For a party, which was the most sought after ally in the political arena for the Assembly elections, fortunes have hit the rock bottom after the poll debacle and wave of exodus. After the first round desertions before the elections, another wave of exodus followed the election results. Again, another round of desertions has begun ahead of the local body elections.
The exodus followed DMDK leader Vijayakanth’s rejection of pleas from partymen to boycott local body polls. The actor is determined to show the party’s strength in local body elections and prove that the DMDK is a force to reckon with. In the 2011 civic body elections, the DMDK put up candidates in almost all the local bodies in the urban areas and vigorously entered the fray in the villages too for the posts of union and district panchayats.
Vijayakanth snapped ties with the AIADMK and entered the race after making seat adjustments with CPM in the 2011 polls and secured over 10 per cent votes.
But, 2016 seems to be a different ball game altogether as the party functionaries are finding it tough to get the candidates as well as the financial resources to field nominees throughout the state. The nomination of 200 nominees at one go for Chennai appears to be a desperate ploy to boost the cadre’s morale and alter the public perception.
The DMDK which derived its strength from the other northern districts earlier, finished in the third place in only eight out of the 100 seats it contested. It is here the party’s chances of revival appear very dim and the party is finding it hard to get people who can get decent number of votes.
Political analyst ‘Aazhi’ Senthilnathan said “DMDK may not be able to get 10 per cent votes as it did last time. Party functionaries with local support have winning chances and there can be some partymen with local influence left in the party”.
The party’s vote share had come down to five per cent from 10 per cent in the 2014 Parliament polls and to 2.5 per cent in the 2016 Assembly polls. A further dip will mean the end of the road for a party which rejected the offer of king-maker and wanted to be the king, just a few months ago.
Congress cadres threaten to fight DMK
The DMK on Thursday released the list of candidates for Madurai, allocating just seven of the 100 wards to the Congress, even while Congress functionaries in a few cities threatened to contest against DMK nominees. The Dravidian party has allocated seven out of the 103 wards for which it released the list of nominees.
DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan announced the list for Madurai corporation and said his party would put up nominees in 88 wards. While seven seats went for the Congress, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi got two wards and Union Muslim League one. The candidates for two more wards will be announced later, he said.
Despite TNCC president S. Thirunavukkarasar glossing over the resentment in the Congress, party’s Tiruchy district secretary Jerome Arockiaraj, a loyalist of former TNCC president E.V.K.S. Elangovan, openly expressed discontent over the allocation. He said Tiruchy is one of the strong areas of the Congress and added that he could not avoid a situation of Congress men contesting against DMK candidates, if the allotment for the national party is not increased.
The Congress is trying to get more wards in the prestigious metropolis of Chennai and are pitching for 22. But, the DMK, which has released a list of candidates for 103 wards had given just seven to the Congress. The Congress lost all the seats it was given in and around the city, in the 2016 Assembly elections, while the DMK managed to beat the AIADMK in most of the city constituencies.
In an interesting fight at Sivakasi municipality in South Tamil Nadu, Congress and DMK have worked out a deal with Tamil Maanila Congress to defeat the AIADMK. The agreement was worked out at the local level by functionaries of the three parties.