Why winning Vikravandi, Nanguneri by-polls important for AIADMK, DMK?

Chennai, Oct 19: Months after the Lok Sabha elections and by-polls in 22 Assembly constituencies, Tamilnadu is witnessing yet another political battle, this time in the form of by-elections in Vikravandi and Nanguneri.

While the northern Vikravandi sees a straight fight between the ruling AIADMK and the main opposition DMK, the AIADMK has locked horns with the Congress, an alliance partner of the DMK, in southern Nanguneri.

Though the verdict in these two seats is not going to bring any drastic change in Tamilnadu politics, as Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s government has the required numbers for majority and the M K Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam lacks it even after posting victory in 13 out of 22 constituencies in the April by-polls, winning Nanguneri and Vikravandi is being viewed as crucial by both camps.

For, with the local body elections expected to be announced anytime, the AIADMK and the DMK high commands see the 21 October by-polls as a precursor. They also feel that the mood of the voters in these two constituencies would reflect in 2021 Assembly elections too.

As a result, Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam from the AIADMK and M K Stalin and other seniors in the DMK carried out power-packed campaigns in both the constituencies.

“Stalin has been repeatedly saying that the AIADMK has 122 MLAs. After the by-polls in Nanguneri and Vikravandi, the strength will climb to 124,” said an optimistic Palaniswami on Friday, while addressing voters in Nanguneri constituency.

During his campaign tour, he had also said that the slapping of cases by the erstwhile DMK regime had caused mental agony to AIADMK supremo and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa resulting in her death.

Responding to him, Stalin brushed aside as baseless the allegation made by the CM said the DMK did not go to the court with the allegation of Jayalalithaa amassing wealth. “It was only senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who filed a case in the court in 1996 and hence the DMK had nothing to do with it,” he added.

Charges and counter-charges aside, the AIADMK and the DMK have taken various steps to woo voters in the two constituencies. As in the past, both the majors have played caste cards in the Vanniyar-dominated Vikravandi and Nadar-dominated Nanguneri. With the curtains coming down on campaigning today, things are over to voters who would decide the fate of candidates on 21 October.

M Bhaskar Sai