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Elections 2019: In Tamil Nadu, it’s a battle for the State

A Srinivas | | Updated on: Apr 17, 2019
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With Kazhagams locked in power-play, Lok Sabha contests take the back-seat

As 96 constituencies across 13 States go to the polls on Thursday in Phase-2 of the general elections, Tamil Nadu’s 5.99 crore voters will not only elect 38 MPs for the new Lok Sabha but also decide the fate of the ruling AIADMK government in the State. The by-polls for 18 State Assembly constituencies will also be held on Thursday.

The AIADMK government is running on a thin majority and it is important that the party wins most of the seats to remain in power.

Focus on by-polls

Not surprisingly, the AIADMK is leaving no stone unturned to score well in the by-elections. In fact, the party is more focussed on the by-polls than the Lok Sabha election.

The total strength of the State Assembly is 234. There are 22 vacancies, of which 18 Assembly constituencies will go to the polls on Thursday. The AIADMK government needs at least 116 seats for its survival. The AIADMK’s present strength is 114 without the Speaker, who can vote in case of a tie during a vote of confidence.

Meanwhile, three MLAs of the party turned Independents and it is not clear whether they will support any trust vote move. Also, three other MLAs have switched side to support rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran, who won as an Independent in the by-poll conducted for RK Nagar in Chennai, the constituency of the late Jayalalithaa.

So, if these six MLAs are discounted, Edappadi Palaniswami-led AIADMK government needs to win at least eight of the 18 Assembly seats that will have their by-elections on Thursday.

Also read: Tamil Nadu enters a new political era

And if by-polls happen for four constituencies, the total Assembly strength will become 234 and the majority mark will also increase to 118. This indicates that the AIADMK government will require two more seats. Overall, winning of 10 seats in the 18 Assembly constituencies during the by-polls will help the AIADMK government complete its full term.

On the other hand, the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)-led front is seeing an opportunity to up its ante. It has 97 MLAs now and it is gunning for victories in all 21 seats. But it is not going to be easy for either the AIADMK or the DMK with Dhinakaran emerging a big threat.

The DMK hopes to bag the majority of the 21 seats seeing anti-incumbency sentiments in the State.

The AIADMK front, which has roped in the Pattali Makkal Katchi and actor-Vijayakant-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), which have a strong base in northern districts, and a few other parties including the BJP, is confident of winning sufficient seats in the Assembly by-polls to stay in the power. It is betting on its formidable alliance to secure victories in the by-polls.

 

For the latest on elections, click: Elections 2019

Published on April 17, 2019

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