After the debacle in Assembly polls, the AIADMK is making an all-out effort in the local body polls.

 

New Delhi: After the debacle in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections held earlier this year, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the principal Opposition party in the state, is putting all-out efforts in the local body polls in the state to gain the much-needed momentum for the party. The Dravidian party, which was not able to register a third straight victory in the recently concluded Assembly election, has activated its rank and file to highlight the unkept poll promises of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its leader M.K.Stalin in the local body polls. The AIADMK poll campaign is focused on the failures of the DMK government with a cry that these polls are a referendum on the present Tamil Nadu government. In the 2021 Assembly elections, the AIADMK won 66 Assembly seats, while the DMK won 133 seats. There are 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

The two AIADMK leaders, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) and O. Pannerselvam (OPS) are putting up a united face in the elections, with both visiting and addressing public meetings together in the poll-bound districts. The party is desperately trying to stay aloft, despite its loss in the Assembly polls. Interestingly, O, Pannerselvam is campaigning hard for the party across the state unlike the Assembly elections in which he was confined to his constituency and surrounding Assembly segments.

A senior AIADMK leader and member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly P.Dhanapal said: “We are winning the local body polls which are a referendum on the state government. The government had failed on every parameter of governance; the tall promises of the DMK have gone for a tailspin in four months. Moreover, people have made up their mind to defeat the vendetta politics of DMK since the new government had stalled the very good schemes launched by the AIADMK and left the beneficiaries and needy people of Tamil Nadu in distress. Hence, you will see that the AIADMK-led alliance will emerge victorious in the local body polls.” The first phase of local body elections took place for 14,862 posts in rural local bodies in nine districts of Northern Tamil Nadu which is considered a DMK bastion. In the local body polls, Assembly elections alliances have broken and there are many friend-turned-foe fights in different wards and panchayats. In the majority of seats the four-month-old DMK-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and the main Opposition party the AIADMK are pitted against each other.

Meanwhile, the AIADMK led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) suffered a setback before the polls, as their alliance partner the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) decided to contest the local body polls alone. But, the party leadership asserted that they are still with the NDA. The PMK claims to have a considerable vote bank in five of the ten districts in Northern Tamil Nadu. Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi (SNTK), new party filed candidates in the maximum number of seats. Other parties, the Makkal Needhi Maiam, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam and the Naam Tamilar Katchi have also  put up candidates in many seats.

Chennai-based political analyst and author M.K. Raghunandan, said: “The local body polls have become very crucial for both the AIADMK and DMK. The workers who are fresh from the Assembly elections have a chance to become leaders through the local polls. For the AIADMK, this is a crucial battle, as they are trying to overhaul the organizational set-up in the party’s lower level. The former ministers, MLAs and senior leaders have been given tasks to ensure maximum candidates or supporters of AIADMK emerge victorious from their respective constituencies. The way both Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O. Pannerselvam (OPS) are campaigning jointly shows that the AIADMK is trying to regain its core support base and signaling to the Tamil Nadu voters that the party had come out of the void of J. Jayalalithaa. The rest will be known in the coming few months as to how AIADMK plans to challenge the DMK after the results.”