Tamil Nadu (TN), India is all set to start off with assembly election due next month. A perfect time to watch political parties actively engaged in alliance formation and designing manifestos to attract voters on April 13. The upcoming election will be a must watch for the entire nation, as it will unfold strategies incorporate by the current TN government to tackle scam charges leveled against it. A background of TN politics might also help students of Politics, International Relation and Journalism to understand the present election.
Political Big fight
Last updated on March 29, 2011
Map of 14 Constituencies in Chennai, Tamil Nadu
View Assembly Elections 2011- Chennai Constituencies in a larger map, Shaurya Gurung
The two leading parties of Tamil Nadu – DMK and AIADMK are standing face to face once again in the assemble polls. Both the parties have been winning the elections alternatively since 1989. The Dravida Munnetra Khazhagam (DMK) or Dravidian Progress Federation, led by M. Karunanidhi, will be sharing 234 assembly seats with at least seven other parties of which Indian National Congress (INC) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) have 63 and 30 seats respectively. DMK itself will have 120 seats and the remaining 21 seats will be allotted to other alliances such as: Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Perunthalaivar Makkal Katchi (PMK), Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam (MMK).
The following pie –charts depicts seat sharing in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election
(Charts by Shinjini Datta)
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), led by Jayalalitha, brought under its alliance different regional parties to give voice to different caste identities. Puthiya Tamilakam (PT) said to have Dalit supports, All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK), led by actor Sarath Kumar, and invokes Nadar community in Tamil Nadu. All India Moovendar Munnani Kazhagam (AIMMK) will voice Thevar community and Muslims will be represented by Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TNMMK). Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by Vijayakanth will have 41 seats if AIADMK alliance comes to power. Communist Party of India (CPI) as well as Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) will lend their support to Jayalaitha’s party.
V.Gopalswamy or Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) quits the AIADMK alliances and decided to boycott the April 13 polls. This ends the five year relation of MDMK with AIADMK after it breaks away with DMK (AIADMK’s political rival). Initially, MDMK opted for 35 seats and later 30 seats out of 234; however, Jayalaitha offered only 6 seats that MDMK own in 2006 elections. AIADMK increased the seat numbers to 9 later but the MDMK leader refused to settle below 21 seats. After the break away many expected MDMK to form a third front or to contest alone. Vaiko later made it clear that he is not going to contest election this year.
Bundles of promises and freebies
The DMK leader, Mr. M. Karunanidhi referred his party’s manifesto as the hero of this election. And why not, after all it offers freebies to lure voters. For this election DMK lined up a range of sops from free grinder to 35 kg of free rice, from free laptops to Dalit engineering students to bus passes to senior citizens. DMK made sure they can please the voters. The promises include increase in old age pension and added new insurance scheme for fishermen. If comes to power once again, DMK says that they will open medical or engineering college and university in every district in Tamil Nadu. They also promised to improve communications by introducing metro rails linking industrial areas with state capital like Madurai and Coimbatore. DMK intends to urge the Central government to nationalize of rivers in South India as well as to retrieve the Katchatheeva, a waste land island, which was ceded by Sri Lanka in 1970s.Announcing the extension of Metro rail services in the state capital to industrial areas like Sriperumbudur, Karunanidhi said Metro rail services would be introduced in major cities like Coimbatore and Madurai.
AIADMK also made huge promises to the people after DMK came up with their bundles of freebies. She offered 20 kg of rice free, 20 liters of water and solar electricity to all Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders. Students in higher secondary will be provided with scholarships of Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 in order to reduce school dropouts. She also promised marriage assistance in terms of gold (4 gms) and an additional Rs 25,000. The lists are exhaustive and lucrative however one may doubt how DMK or AIADMK will fulfill their extensive promises. Only time will tell.
Implications of the 2G spectrum scam
Last updated on March 29, 2011
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Chennai: The 2G spectrum scam may have tainted the reputation of Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and harmed its electoral prospects for the upcoming Assembly Elections in April.
T.K.S. Elangovan, the DMK spokeperson, feels that the 2G scam will affect the prospects of the DMK in the coming elections. He added that the DMK leaders face corruption charges. In addition, Karunanidhi’s family was accused of taking over the entertainment industry and using money to gain votes. Elangovan explained that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had an intimidating alliance.
In an interview with Rediff.com’s Shobha Warrier, Elangovan mentioned that the 2G scam and the alliance issue with the Congress are part of all elections. He added that the alliance partners would desire more number of seats than is alloted to them. However, he concluded by saying that a settlement will be reached.
(Video edited by Shinjini Datta & Shaurya)
Seat sharing with the Congress
The DMK’s strength and support lies mainly in Chennai, but it has given away five seats from the State’s capital to its chief ally, the Congress. The constituencies that are DMK’s strongholds include T. Nagar, Mylapore and Anna Nagar.
The State’s electricity minister and DMK leader, Arcot N Veerasamy will not be contesting from the Anna Nagar constituency. The seat was given to a Congress candidate. Veerasamy contested in Anna Nagar four times and has won thrice. However, for the upcoming elections, he sought a rural constituency.
In addition, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK President, M. Karunanidhi will not be contesting from the Chepauk constituency in Chennai. He chose to campaign from Tiruvarur, his native place. The Deputy Chief Minister, M K Stalin has decided to contest from Kolathur, a northern constituency of Chennai rather than from Thousand Lights. He has been contesting from the Thousand Lights constituency since 1984 and has won four times.
On January 31, 2011, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress General Secretary, the Congress Chief, Sonia Gandhi and Karunanidhi held a meeting to discuss issues of seat sharing. After the arrest of A. Raja by the CBI, the Congress with the help of the DMK is ready to take control of the elections.
According to a Congress leader, “in the 2G spectrum investigation, things have moved as much as possible. After A Raja’s arrest, nobody can accuse the government about not doing enough.”
Relief for the DMK
The Joint Parliamnetary Committee (JPC) will meet only once or twice before the assembly elections to probe into the 2G spectrum scam. The JPC decided to meet during the remaining term of the budget session. The session was scheduled to end in May, but was changed to March 25 on demand by the members of the JPC who would be contesting for the assembly elections. This brought relief to the DMK who were facing heavy criticism from the AIADMK regarding the 2G scam. The ruling party also felt that the JPC meetings during the polls would mainly benefit the opposition party.
The JPC has 10 MPs from Assam, Kerela, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, where the assembly elections will start in April. The JPC chairman Chacko, Lok Sabha MPs Paban Singh Ghatobar, Adhir Chowdhury, T R Baalu, Thambi Durai, Kalyan Banerjee, Gurudas Dasgupta and Rajya Sabha MPs P J Kurien, Jayanthi Natarajan and T Siva are from the states contesting in the elections.
Swansong in Tamil Nadu politics
Last updated on March 29, 2010
Chennai: Tamil Nadu has been an interesting case for the political observers and analysts. This has been the only state where the fulcrum of power has revolved around two regional parties for more than four decades. In this period, no national party has had a significant influence in this state.
The state politics has s been essentially a tussle between regional stalwarts. They are not only political leaders but go down to the extent of being worshipped by their followers, examples of which is unparalleled in the politics of any other state. What is more interesting is that for the last three decades, power has been controlled by two parties the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
It all started in 1972, when M.G. Ramachandran, due to his differences with the DMK party President M. Karunanidhi on issues of publicising of party funds quit the party. Later on in 1972 itself, Ramachandran decided to form a new party AIADMK. This party was to play a major role in the future political scenario of Tamil Nadu. MGR as Ramachandran was popularly called enjoyed great popularity among the general masses of Tamil Nadu. His popularity was instrumental in winning three successive mandates for the AIADMK between 1977 and 1984.
Following his death in 1987, Tamil Nadu witnessed an era of politics where anti-incumbency played a major role. From 1989 onwards to the 2006 assembly elections, Tamil Nadu regularly witnessed change of guards between the AIADMK and the DMK. This was partly due to the fact that neither Jayalalitha nor Karunanidhi had the charisma of MGR. Second, the philanthropic attributes of MGR had a great impact on the masses of Tamil Nadu which the DMK and AIADMK were unable to fulfil. Also, massive corruption in both of the regimes of AIADMK and DMK led to disappointment among the general populace of the state. This led to change of government in every election starting from the 1989 elections, where the DMK secured huge mandate. In each successive election the other parties were generally wiped off because they were unable to fulfil the aspirations of the people. Nepotism on the part of both the AIADMK and the DMK also played a major role in alienating the masses from these parties.
This led to change of government in every election starting from the 1989 elections, where the DMK secured huge mandate. In each successive election the other party were generally wiped off because they were unable to fulfil the aspirations of the people. Nepotism on the part of both the AIADMK and the DMK also played a major role in alienating the masses from these parties.
If we take a look at the assembly elections held since 1989, DMK secured a majority on the account of split in the AIADMK. The popularity of V.P. Singh and internal squabbles in the AIADMK factions led to a victory for the DMK. But in 1991, the Prime Minister Chandra Shekar dismissed the DMK government citing deterioration of law and order in the state and its alleged closeness to the LTTE. Fresh Elections were held in which the AIADMK got majority and the DMK was able to win only 2 seats. The Jayalalitha government completed its five year term but was beset with corruption scandals and public discontent. These factors resulted in the erosion of AIADMK support base and it lost the 1996 assembly elections to the DMK. One of the other main reasons was the emergence of Tamil Manila Congress Leader G.K Moopnar into prominence.
In the 2001 elections, due to incumbency factor the DMK lost power though it finished its five year term in power for the first time, since winning the 1971 state assembly elections. Broad coalition formed by the AIADMK was also responsible for the defeat of the DMK. In 2006 elections the story continued with the loss of AIADMK due to incumbency factor.
We can see that a sort of swansong has continued between the DMK and the AIADMK since 1989. Will it be the same in this year’s election remains to be seen.
The following video is on the supporters of the DMK
(Video edited by Shinjini Datta)