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In Tamil Nadu, first-time voters look away from AIADMK, DMK

Swathi Moorthy Chennai | Updated on January 20, 2018

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BJP, Vijayakant’s DMDK+ and newbie NTK have a following among the youth

Change seems to be the word on the lips of Tamil Nadu’s first-time voters. In a State that has vacillated between the AIADMK and the DMK for nearly five decades, young voters are keen on a different dispensation assuming charge. The underlying sentiment seems to be a need for a clean government with a solid development agenda.

At this point, political pundits reckon that the fight is still between the two traditional camps. However, the May 16 polls will have three other contenders vying for votes. Actor-turned-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK has joined hands with the People’s Welfare Front, a combine of Vaiko’s MDMK and the two Left parties. An aggressive BJP is hoping to make a dent in the votes of the others, while S Ramadoss’ PMK is fighting it out alone. Young voters are keen on the BJP, the DMDK alliance and surprisingly even the new Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK), a Tamil supremacist party led by film director Seeman.

Twenty-year-old Kasi Muthu works in a juice shop, and has his eyes set on the NTK. “Unlike other States, there has never been room for other political parties apart from the AIADMK and the DMK.

The NTK proposes to root out corruption and bring change from the grassroots level, and should be given a chance,” he said.

Murugan, 25, an auto-rickshaw driver who recently got his voter ID, concurs. Although the NTK may not have a solid vote base, animosity towards the leading parties and an unstable DMDK would help the NTK garner votes, he feels.

For Sabarish VS, a first-year mechanical engineering student at SRM University, fast-paced development is important for growth, which he claims the BJP is trying to achieve. “Having BJP [governments] at the Centre and the State will benefit Tamil Nadu. I think it will propel projects that are running at a slow place to gain momentum,” he said.

Varalakshmi Vedagiri, a third-year computer engineering student, says corruption, a key issue in TN, can be averted if BJP comes to power.

Sruthi KS, a second-year MSc Chemistry student, said though she did not have strong opinions on any party, the DMDK would be a better option. “It has always been the AIADMK or the DMK. Though we are not sure if Vijayakant, who is leading the DMDK, can do anything, he should be given a fair chance,” she says.

More ‘likes’ for BJP

With over one lakh first-time voters, many political parties are trying to woo them by strengthening their social media campaigns. The BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit tops Facebook following with over 4 lakh ‘likes’ for its official page; the AIADMK has 2 lakh, the DMK 1.95 lakh, and the DMDK 13,500.

Aashika, a 21-year-old college student, says the AIADMK is her first choice. “Though there have been concerns about corruption, it was worse during the DMK period. There has also been improvement in power and initiatives like Amma canteen,” she says.

Published on April 03, 2016

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