2019 Lok Sabha polls, by-election crucial for EPS, OPS and Stalin

Chennai: The Lok Sabha elections and the by-poll to 18 Assembly seats in Tamilnadu, scheduled to be held 18 April, have many firsts.

For the first time, the State is witnessing a sort of mini-Assembly election, as 18 constituencies are facing by-poll along with the parliamentary elections mainly due to the disqualification of AIADMK MLAs who sided with T T V Dhinakaran.

“This is something unprecedented and results of the by-poll will decide the fate of the AIADMK government,” says Raja, a statistician, adding that this would also be the first election which is seeing a multi-cornered heavy contest.

“So far, the fight has been mainly between the AIADMK- and DMK-led fronts. But, this time, there are other strong, or popular players like T T V Dhinakaran and Kamal Haasan. Even one vote can make a huge difference in deciding the victory of the AIADMK and DMK alliances,” he said.

Interestingly, this is the first major electoral battle in Tamilnadu after the death of two top political leaders – the charismatic J Jayalalithaa and the clever M Karunanidhi.

And, this will also be the first poll to test the popularity of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and DMK president M K Stalin.

Also, for the first time, more than a dozen wards of top leaders have been fielded by various political parties, with the major ones being Kanimozhi, Anbumani, Dayanidhi Maran and O P Ravindranath. And, after MGR and Jayalalithaa, a popular star of that stature — Kamal Haasan — has thrown his hat in the election ring.

“This is no doubt a do-or-die battle for Stalin, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. The outcome of the Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly by-elections will decide their political future. It looks like the Tamilnadu political arena will be in for some surprises,” says Jothiram Ethiraj, an auditor.

M Bhaskar Sai