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Will BJP-allies rock Jayalalithaa's national aspirations?

March 21, 2014 18:22 IST

As the mercury keeps moving up in the wake of rising temperature, poll fever is also soaring northward in Tamil Nadu which will witness a fierce fight for the 39 Lok Sabha seats between ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, even as a six-party BJP-led alliance is trying to play spoilsport.

The state which faces voting on April 24 has witnessed a new combination of political parties grouping together, particularly that of the one led by the saffron party and some allies witnessing isolation.

While DMK ditched Congress, AIADMK dumped the two Left parties and BJP managed to form a rainbow alliance with six parties.

After a hiatus of almost two decades, Congress has been pushed to the wall in Tamil Nadu, where it faces the compulsion of going it alone in the elections without the backing of allies, after M Karunanidhi-headed DMK dumped it.

Incensed over the attitude of Congress-led UPA government which haunted some front-ranking DMK leaders on the 2G scam despite the party being an ally, Karunanidhi shut the doors on the Congress by spurning its offers to renew ties.

DMK feels that UPA-II captained by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had let it down on various matters, including on protecting fishermen and Sri Lankan Tamils issue, the major plank on which all political outfits find common cause to further their interests.

Though DMK kept on sulking over the treatment its Dalit leader and former Telecom Minister A Raja got on the 2G scam, which also caught in its web, Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and his wife Dayalu, the party snapped its alliance with UPA over Tamils issue in March last year and later pulled its ministers out of the UPA ministry.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, whose confidence level is high and who nurtures political ambitions at the national level, has left behind all her rivals in preparing her party for the poll well before the Election Commission unveiled the schedule.

Jayalalithaa who has already set out on a blazing campaign trail, has been pouring scorn on UPA performance and its former ally DMK over various issues, including on price rise, economic situation and the Tamils' plight in Sri Lanka, among others.

The AIADMK supremo has been heavily banking on luring the electorate by her populist schemes like 'Amma' eateries which serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at subsidised cost, mineral water scheme and distribution of consumer durables like mixer, grinder, fans and others.

With a clear intention of garnering more seats in the hustings, she dropped CPI and CPM, the Left parties who were with AIADMK since the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and also the 2011 Assembly election.

DMK on its part could only rope in minor local players like Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Indian Union Muslim League, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Puthiya Tamilagam and is waging a herculean battle bringing to the fore the "failures" of AIADMK government.

The emergence of the BJP led grand alliance on the political horizon of Tamil Nadu is expected to cause electoral upsets in some areas for DMK and AIADMK, especially in the western and northern belts of the state.

Though the state will witness a multi-cornered fight, the actual contest will be between AIADMK and DMK in a majority of the seats.

Psephologists feel the BJP alliance riding on the Narendra Modi wave would rock Jayalalithaa's aspirations for a prominent role at the national level after the polls.

The noteworthy factor in the April 24 elections is how the young electorate will vote as about 10 lakh more voters have enrolled, taking the total electorate to 5.37 crore.

Major Dravidian parties AIADMK and DMK have been pulling out all the stops to enhance their vote share in the polls.

While DMK won 18 seats and garnered a 25 per cent vote share in the 2009 elections, its younger rival AIADMK romped home in nine constituencies while netting 23 per cent of the total votes polled. DMDK, which failed to win a single seat, however polled a little over 10 per cent of the votes.

Image: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa

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