SINCE Assembly elections are round the corner in Tamil Nadu a challenging scenario is emerging in the state. There are a total of 234 assembly constituencies in the state and the multiplicity of political parties, caste and religious groups together with intricate electoral politics pose a formidable challenge. The state will now go to assembly polls for 14th time.
The election scenario sees a political war between two major state level regional players supported by national parties. As political awareness has been much vibrant in the state, tough political activities are to be seen in a couple of months once the dates of assembly elections are announced.
Serious issues concerning the people
This election will primarily be fought on the issues of price rise, corruption, 2G Spectrum loot, Radia taped conversations, misuse of power by Karunanidhi family’s, killings of fishermen around Rameshwaram coast, etc. General public also feels the succession issue of the DMK. The incumbent Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has become old and he is now restricted to wheel chair. He is clinging on to leave the Chief Minister’s seat to his son.
The arrest of former Union Minister of Telecommunication, A Raja, in 2G spectrum scam also appears to play an important role in this election. After his arrest the DMK is in neck deep trouble because of the credibility deficit. People say that power corrupts. Perhaps money grabbing tendency and greediness corrupt a man within a short period of occupying the seat of power. Once Abraham Lincoln had said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Intellectual section as well as educated voters expect the contestants to promise and execute the state’s development-oriented programmes like education, healthcare, rural and urban infrastructure, technology, 24 hours power supply, drinking water facility, law and order and growth with justice. There have been glaring failures of the previous governments. They could not raise crores of people above the poverty line. There are crores of people who are still illiterate. They could not curb illegal money power, casteism, violence and criminalisation. There is a parallel economy of black money. Blame gaming seems to be a common phenomenon in the fight for election.
The DMK in its turn will make tall claims about its popular schemes to attract people. They will try to impress upon the voters about their free distributions of colour TV sets, gas stoves, insurance schemes, one kg rice for Re 1, variety of food items, through ration shops, houses for poor, schemes to help pregnant women etc. Since every political party is doing its best to win the elections, it is hard at this moment to predict the future.
Politics of Alliance
The formation of alliance is indeed a critical work. Tamil Nadu has also become the centre of attention for alliance politics. The DMK and AIADMK are the two poles. DMK knows the art of managing the Congress. In the last assembly elections held during the year 2006, DMK and Congress alliance had received 163 seats. Then the DMK got 26.4 per cent votes while the Congress had begged 8.38 per cent votes. Most probably in this election DMK, Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthai and some more small groups may form the part of an alliance. The PMK, led by Ramadoss, is also demanding maximum possible share from DMK Chief Minister.
The AIADMK appears to fight along with MDMK (Vaiko), Communist Party, Puthiya Tamilagam and some more parties led by film stars like Karthik and Sarath Kumar. Efforts are also on to take Vijayakanth along with them as an alliance partner. During 2006 elections, the AIADMK got 32.52 per cent votes and the MDMK got 5.97 per cent votes. Vijayakanth had separately fought and secured 8.32 per cent votes.
On the other hand the BJP is working hard to gain some representation in the assembly. In 2006 elections, it contested 229 seats and got 2.16 per cent votes. Recently, the state party president Pon. Radhakrishnan conducted a Rath Yatra throughout the state and mobilised the people in favour of BJP. Large gatherings greeted him in Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai. Various nationalistic organisations are also extending full support to the party.
Alliance between Jayalalithaa and Vijayakanth may turn into a formidable force
The DMK and Congress will have to fight seriously if Jayalalithaa enters into an alliance with Vijayakanth. The young voters are looking for a change and dynamic leadership. Cho. Ramaswamy, editor of the political weekly Thuglak also spoke in fovour of Jayalalithaa at a function recently. He intensely pleaded for an alliance of AIADMK with Vijayakanth’s party to put an end to the corrupt misrule of DMK.
The history of electoral battles reveals that Tamil Nadu always voted for a change. The sitting Government always went out except during the MGR’s rule. The recent trend shows a mammoth vote gain for the AIADMK. There is a possibility of huge success for Jayalalithaa if she joins hands with DMDK led by Vijayakanth. Not merely cities and towns, people living in the far off villages, in the sea shores, in mountains and forests also must be made to feel that price rise, 2G spectrum corruption and misrule is more serious danger to the state than the benefits of freebies like colour TV sets or 1 kg rice for Re 1. The state is waiting to see the full force of voter’s enlightened will.