The stage is set at Radhakrishnan Nagar, the voters are perked up to show their power, the candidates are licking the sweat on the upper lips and the Election Commission can’t seem to hold this “No Holds Barred” match anymore. It is time for the biggest Royal Rumble
in Tamil Nadu, the R K Nagar By Poll Election, which is scheduled on April 12th 2017.
The 2017 Elections of Uttar Pradesh marked a crucial referendum for the the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The R K Nagar by poll election is of similar importance to Tamil Nadu, since the state has been in a state of suspended emotion ever since the death of J Jayalalithaa on 5th December 2016.
The multi-thronged contest makes it an even more interesting battle with each side coming out with new strategies as we near the last date for candidate withdrawals, 27th March 2017. Apart from the of securing the Grand Prize of R K Nagar, there are several smaller
battles which are being fought amongst the political parties in Tamil Nadu.
Battle No 1: Who owns AIADMK?
Ever since a public spat emerged between O Paneerselvam (OPS) and Sasikala Natarajan (Sasi), things have really heated up. The OPS camp, with 14 MLAs and 12 MPs, are slowly yet steadily strengthening their cause and approaching this battle with a legal perspective.
OPS supporters have time and again stressed on the fact that the post of Interim General Secretary in All Indian Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has been illegally obtained by the Sasi Camp.
They have approached the Election commission of India and argued their case with the bylaws in AIADMK constitution. The by law states that the election of Sasikala Natarajan to the post of Interim General Secretary is invalid since there is no such post in the AIADMK
constitution. The other charge is that Sasikala Natarajan not unanimously elected by all AIADMK core members, it was just a few high level members who elected her.
If this is proved, Sasi camp’s claim to the AIADMK party and two leaves symbol in nullified and the party stays with OPS camp. Sources tell us that E Madhusudhanan, Presidium Chairman, is mostly likely to be the candidate from OPS camp. Hence outcome of the first battle of AIADMK Vs AIADMK will be a very interesting one to watch.
Battle No 2: Who is J Jayalalithaa’s true Heir?
J Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar is making her electoral debut in this by election under the banner of her own party “MGR Amma Deepa Peravai” (MGR Amma Deepa Federation). Sycophancy has reached an impermissible limit when a leader names her party after her
own name “Deepa”.
Although she was initially leaning towards the OPS camp, she has finally decided to stand on her own, thus trying to exhibit J Jayalalithaa’s strong character. Claiming that blood is thicker than water, Deepa has been attacking Sasikala for hijacking the “Amma Legacy”.
O Paneerselvam, the erstwhile Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, has never wavered in his loyalty to J Jayalalithaa. The man who has been the sit in Chief Minister for J Jayalalithaa on two occasions, was unlucky for the third time as well.
His short stint as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for two months have created quite a popular gathering for himself. What he probably would be banking on is that people remember him for his swift moves during Jallikattu protests, drought assistance from the center and relief work in Vardah cyclone.
It is after his initial meditation symbolism at J Jayalalithaa’s resting place, people have started thronging to this memorial. They all must probably hoping that they too will get an opportunity to interact with J Jayalalithaa’s athma.
Sasikala Natarajan aka Chinna Amma, was trying to bank on the fact that she could wrest J Jayalalithaa’s charisma by mimicking her every move. Unfortunately spending several decades with Jayalalithaa and using Jaya’s stylist did not merit this cause.
All she could do secure was a conviction at parappana agrahara jail in bangalore as the coaccused (A2) in the disproportionate assets case (DA Case).
Battle No 3: Is it back to AIADMK Vs DMK for Tamil voters?
TTV Dinakaran, the nephew of Sasikala Natarajan and candidate , is now the man who is calling all shots in AIADMK. In 2011, Jayalalithaa kicked him along with many other relatives out of Poes Garden after falling out with Sasikala. But Sasikala and Dinakaran came back in
2012 and now in 2017 he is anointed as the boss of the party.
Dinakaran, in an exclusive interview to a Tamil local news channel, has openly extended an invitation all like minded parties in Tamil Nadu to fight against the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). He has clearly marked DMK as their single enemy, there by dismissing all other parties with the scope of winning this by poll election
Declaring himself as the candidate for the AIADMK, he has infact gone on record to suggest that he would win this election by a staggering margin 50,000 votes which 10,000 more than Jayalalithaa’s victory margin in 2016.
TTV Dinakaran was recently asked to pay up a penalty of Rs 25 crore in connection with a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act violation case. Only time will tell us weather he will be able to pull of this victory or will be he suspended under the Representation of Peoples’ Act.
The DMK has announced N Maruthuganesh as its candidate for the April 12 bypoll. Party General Secretary K Anbazhagan made the announcement through a party release in Chennai.
DMK working president M K Stalin has extended a similar invitation to Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) led by Thol Thirumavalavan, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxists) (CPI(M)).
He is luring them to fight against AIADMK which is facing anti incumbency in the state. He has also suggested that Maruthuganesh’s tag as the local man of R K Nagar will enable them to emerge victorious in R K Nagar.
This is probably his first election as the working president of DMK, without any intervention from his father.
Battle No 4: An Unexpected turn of Events? Non Dravidian Winner?
Every elections is not new to twists and turns. With the Jallikattu, Neduvasal and Fishmerman protests taking shape in the state, the hatred for both the major Dravidian parties is evident in the minds of voters.
The R K Nagar by poll has been opened up a gateway of possibilities to all Political parties. Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) has gone on image building action plan across the state led by their leader actor turned politician Vijayakanth. They have announced their
decision to fight this polls alone, probably for the third time after 2009.
Tamil Nadu BJP, probably banking on its performance in the recent four assembly elections, is planning to field their President Tamilisai Soundararajan. But the National party has a very poor track record when it comes to the state of Tamil Nadu.
Apart from these two parties, we have the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and many other individuals who have converged together with progressing the state as their core ideology.
Battle No 5: The Voter’s mood?
Tamil Nadu as a state is probably one on of the most developed states in the country yet we as voters choose our candidates based on the money or freebies they offer. This is not an unusual practice in India but Tamil Nadu has always topped the list.
The famous expression “Thirumangalam formula” comes to the mind of anyone confronting the money factor in elections. The formula became so popular that it was even discussed in a cable sent out by the U.S. embassy to the State Department in 2009.
The voting pattern of Tamil Nadu has become quite predictable in the past five decades and it has often led to a negligent attitude from our ruling class. Track record of politicians should matter and they should primarily be used as the report card for voters to give their sign of
The term “Tamil Pride” has often been taken for a ride by the Dravidian Politicians who has failed to enhance the Tamil pride in terms of reducing corruption, keep core ideology as development and aligning with National interests.
Only time will tell us if the people of Tamil Nadu will vote as is or manage to see a light at the end of the tunnel !!!