The two Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu are facing dissent and desertions from their fold with party workers publicly opposing some of the candidates chosen for the May Assembly polls.
After seat-sharing exercises have been completed, both the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are facing dissidence over the choice of nominees.
For the first time in recent times, rebellion was open in the monolithic AIADMK with party workers wanting change of candidates in so many places. The party has already announced changes in five constituencies and some more were expected.
Though party chief Jayalalithaa had started her campaign, petitions were mounting against the selection of "little known persons" as candidates in some constituencies, AIADMK sources said.
The workers had publicly protested against the nomination of Sivagami Vincent in Dharapuram on the plea that she had switched over from the Pattali Makkal Katchi on the eve of elections.
AIADMK MLA from Nagercoil Henry Austin has quit the party and announced his decision to contest as an independent, protesting against the allocation of the constituency to Vaiko's Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
In the DMK front, dissidence has been much more pronounced.
DMK MLA Asokan, who represented Tiruvarur in the outgoing assembly, joined AIADMK last evening after being denied party ticket. On Friday, DMK strongman in Cuddalore district A G Sampath resigned from the party, protesting allocation of his Mugaiyur seat to the PMK.
Sampath had been elected from the seat for two terms while his mother Padmavathy also has won the seat twice. His father and DMK founder late C N Annadurai's close associate, A Govindasamy, had represented the seat for a number of years.
Another seat witnessing dissidence is Tiruvidaimaruthur, which had been represented by A Ramalingam of DMK on a number of times. The seat had been allocated to the PMK, leading to protests in that area.
The PMK, a constituent of the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance, has also had its share of woes. Its former MLA P Govindan had been expelled from the party for "working against" party nominee S Kanniayan at Taramangalam.
With reports of protests from some other constituencies pouring in, more such disciplinary action was likely.
The Congress was the first party to face revolt in fact much before the election dates were announced -- with former TNCC president K Ramamurthee demanding more seats for the party from DMK.
The high command not only expelled him from the party but also appointed a fellow Vanniya, M Krishnasamy, as the TNCC chief in place of Union Minister G K Vasan to avoid any backlash from the backward Vanniya community.
The Congress-affiliated INTUC suffered a split with its state chief P L Subbiah and general secretary G Kalan aligning with AIADMK.
Dissatisfied with seat allocation, supporters of AICC member A Chellakumar staged a demonstration in front of TNCC office in which effigies of party observer Veerappa Moily were burnt. Chellakumar had since been expelled from the party.
Barring the Congress and the Communist Party of India, other constituents of the DPA-DMK, PMK, CPI-M and IUML have already announced nominees.
The DPA would be officially starting the campaign on April 5.
Jayalalithaa, who singled out Congress chief Sonia Gandhi during the last Lok Sabha polls, is avoiding any personal attack in her campaign, which was launched on Friday. But her new found ally, Vaiko, who launched his campaign from his native village Kalingapatti on Mar 29, has been attacking DMK chief Karunanidhi for building a "family economic empire".
Karunanidhi had directed his party men not to attack Vaiko during electioneering and instead target the "misdeeds" of the Jayalalithaa government.
The electioneering was expected to pick up only in the third week of this month with national leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Kishenchand Advani pitching in.
Fledgling Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam, floated by actor Vijaykant, is the only party, which would be contesting all the 234 seats.