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DMK wins in Vellore: what does this mean for the 2021 Tamil Nadu state elections?

V Nivedita | Updated on August 11, 2019 Published on August 10, 2019

Kathir Anand

On Friday, Kathir Anand (DMK) won the elections in the Lok sabha constituency by a thin margin of over 8,000 votes against AC Shanmugam (AIADMK).

The election in Vellore was cancelled earlier this year because of reports of corruption.

The DMK won the Lok Sabha elections in Tamilnadu by a landslide, winning 37 of the 39 seats in the state. The AIADMK, on the other hand, won only a single seat (the Theni Lok Sabha seat was won by Deputy CM O Pannerselvam's son, OP Raveendranath Kumar).

It is in this context that this election was seen as crucial for both the Dravidian parties: for the AIADMK, it was an opportunity to course correct and for the DMK, it was chance to build on its winning momentum.

With a small victory margin, what is at stake for both parties? Here's a look.

For AIADMK

The top brass of the ruling party from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to all the ministers campaigned extensively for AC Shanmugam, who is an educationalist, in the constituency.

This loss, though by a very small margin, would send them back to the drawing board to figure out what went right and what went wrong.

The party however can take solace in the fact that they still have control over the state assembly by a slim majority. Even though the state by-elections were held alongside the Lok Sabha elections, the party was able to consolidate its precarious position, by winning just 9 seats of the 22 that were up for grabs, to retain power.

Before the state elections, they are likely to decide who would be their allies and become more savvy about seat sharing agreements.

What they should do: the AIADMK, which is ruling the state and is in alliance with the BJP at the centre, must be able to show some solid developmental projects by the time the state goes for polls in mid-2021.

Without a star campaigner like former CM and party supremo J Jayalalithaa, it is up to the party general council to campaign effectively and efficiently. They must also try and stop any infighting as early as possible.

For DMK

For the DMK, all seems well. They have swept the Lok Sabha polls. But, they should resist the urge to become complacent. In the general elections, heavy weights like Kanimozhi, Dayanidhi Maran and others won decisively. Now, they won by a slender 8,000 votes.

What they should do: the DMK, who is also reeling under the loss of party leader M Karunanidhi (who died on August 7, 2018), have a head start with MK Stalin taking over the party's reigns.

Even though they had a good showing in the national elections and state by-polls earlier this year, it was not enough to destabilize the AIADMK government. The DMK will now need to keep the AIADMK on its toes at the State level, and keep the BJP in check at the centre. By doing this, Stalin can show that he is a leader in his own right.

Published on August 10, 2019
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