At the outset, it is preferable to deal with the important parties which matter in the politics of Tamil Nadu. Firstly AIADMK is supposedly the leading party as far as the vote share is concerned. This is followed by, not closely though, DMK. The third party is the national party which is under-rated Congress. This party is undoubtedly the make or break party in Tamil Nadu elections. The other two parties are PMK and national party BJP. As it stands, BJP is the fastest growing party in Tamil Nadu.
It is better not to be swayed by the recent projections by some of the vested interest (especially media channels). It is again better to surmise the projections starting from the previous elections and the recent happenings which have bearing on the possible shift in the equations
- A single major event which has shaken the electorate is the demise of Selvi J Jayalalitha, who was the sitting Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- The next event, which has less of a bearing on the electorate is the failing health of Mr M. Karunanidhi, who was unable to run the party for few years now
- BJP’s emergence as the most benefitted party, especially with the new electorate. This is because of the dynamic leadership of the party by Sri Narendra Modi and Sri Amit Shah
- Corruption has become one major issue for the common man, who has started looking comfortable with National parties BJP and Congress in that order
- The recent development in 2G, Aircel Maxis and other land grab cases might lead the stalwarts of both the parties DMK and ADMK to become queens and kings of the prison cells
Coming back to how these events will affect or effect the leading parties in the coming elections, it is imperative to analyse the possible strategies these leading parties will adapt prior to facing the elections.
Tamil Nadu has an electoral strength of 5 crores and a possible vote percentage of 70, which means 3.5 crore population will go to polling booths to cast their votes.
AIADMK boasts of 1.5 crore vote share which is 42-43% of the votes expected to be polled. After the demise of their charismatic leader and the present intra-party squabbles, this might dwindle to 37-38% which means a vote share of 1.3 crores. This is a formidable strength not because of the present leaders but due to the loyalty the electorate developed towards their idols MGR and Jayalalitha. This means ADMK is still in strong position
DMK, after the retirement(!) of Mr Karunanidhi, who was a shrewd politician, lacks energy and wherewithal of a leading party. It is questionable whether they still retain the 30% vote share, (ie 90 lakh electorate back DMK). The party is also pulled in many directions by Karunanidhi’s clan and some abstruse hands. This in effect might pull their vote share to anywhere between 65 and 80 lakhs.
It is likely that PMK has improved its vote share over the years and might claim an increased voting percentage of 6-7. This means a vote share of 22-25 lakhs. Because of its ‘vanniar’ image it is getting stuck and it is never easy for them to become a formidable opposition on their own
The presence of a national party, Congress, never allowed both DMK and ADMK to assess their true voter strength. Theoretically, ADMK, contested alone in the previous election, and won it, but DMK, as they currently stand, may not contest alone, lest their weaknesses be exposed. Given the above, Congress too does not have an opportunity to gauge its intrinsic strength. The Tamil Nadu Congress leaders were cowed down by the Gandhi family from the days of Indira Gandhi and were never allowed to assess themselves nor allowed to grow by embarking on a state wide membership drive. But some people in Tamil Nadu still look up to the national party and maybe willing to back them provided they form their own coalition strategy without banking on either DMK or ADMK.
Due to various reasons it is seen in the previous elections that only 70% turn out to vote. The major parties ADMK and DMK garner at least 2 crore votes out of a possible 3.5 crores, leaving 1.5 crores for the rest of the parties. Considering the intrinsic value of both PMK and Congress parties, it is likely put together they have a vote share of 50 lakhs.
BJP and the other parties stare at a possible vote bank of 1crore. And if the vote percentage touches 75, there will be an additional 25 lakh votes to grab
If BJP and Congress decide to form their own coalition then four parties will try to woo the fringe parties and PMK will become a make or break party.
Given the above, the time is ripe for national parties to start asserting themselves in Tamil Nadu politics.
Written by Gopalan Krishnan. The author is a retired scientist of ISRO. He has a keen interest in lesser known Indian, especially Tamil patriots and scientists