Stalin's leadership faces acid test as politics heats ahead of by-elections in Tamil Nadu (File Photo)
Tamil Nadu is witnessing heightened political drama ahead of the crucial by-elections to two assembly seats – Tiruvarur and Tiruparankundram – likely to be held along with general elections to five states. Why the two by-elections are crucial, though the outcome will not have any impact on the government of the day in the state, is because they will test the leadership skills of the newly anointed DMK president MK Stalin.
More important, the person who inherited the political legacy of his father, the towering Dravidian and national leader, K Karunanidhi, will have to retain the Tiruvarur seat the DMK patriarch held till his death.
Here, Stalin is facing trouble from his elder brother MK Alagiri, who has vowed to wreck his brother and his leadership.
For Stalin personally, a victory at Tiruvarur is a must as a victory at Tiruparankundram is a must for rebel AIADMK leader, TTV Dhinakaran to stay relevant in Tamil Nadu politics.
It is with the two by-elections in mind, Dhinakaran and his supporters have unveiled a strategy to create confusion in AIADMK ranks and drive a wedge between the Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
It is as part of this strategy, Dhinakaran lobbed a bombshell that Deputy Chief Minister Panneerelvam was ready to stab his boss and partner in power, Palaniswami and for this OPS was in constant touch with him. What Dhinakaran gains from this revelation is to increase mistrust between the leaders, who are pulling on despite their differences to ensure the government completes its term.
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AIDAMK deputy coordinator R Vaithalingam asserted that the CM and DCM were working in tandem and there were no differences. “TTV Dhinakaran is adopting a divide and rule strategy by making allegations that OPS met him. TTV’s tricks will fail as the two leaders are working together,” he said.
“I see the current allegation of TTV over OPS meeting to remove EPS and the timing of the expose as an attempt to damage OPS and EPS equation, besides trying to take advantage for the by-polls,” felt perception strategist John Arokiaswamy. While one of the seats going to by-polls Tiruparangundram will be a triangular contest between the AIADMK, DMK and TTV Dhinakaran the Tiruvarur constituency will see sibling rivalry out on the streets.
But DMK is expected to romp home if it fields a heavy candidate, Arokiaswamy felt. But political analyst Prof Ramu Manivannan of the Madras University said the DMK cannot take Alagiri lightly even though Tiruvarur is the party’s bastion represented till his death by party patriarch Karunanidhi.
However, on a day of fast-paced political developments on Friday Union Minister of State, Pon Radhakrishnan met the chief minister and also
Governor Banwarilal Purohit. The chief minister is also slated to meet the Governor Friday and then next week visit Delhi to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Now, all this flurry of activity has given rise to speculations of a snap poll in Tamil Nadu too, possibly to be timed along with the Lok Sabha general elections. Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswamy could, party sources indicate, play ball with the BJP and he feels frustrated by the constant bickering within the party.
All this hectic politicking also comes ahead of a crucial Madras High Court decision on the disqualification of 18 MLAs belonging to the AIADMK. A decision in favour of the disqualified MLAs could mean curtains for the government which will be in a minority. Then there is a resolution to remove Speaker P Dhanpal moved by a supporter of Dhinarakan. Given that the assembly has over two years of life, the DMK would welcome any chance to fell the government.