'Two Leaves' versus 'Sun'

'Two Leaves' versus 'Sun'

Equally lingering is the formidable presence of the 87-year-old Dravidian patriarch, M Karunanidhi, who, age and controversies apart, still shapes the destiny of the DMK in an astonishing sixth-time bid for the chief ministership. His ideological shield may have lost a bit of its sheen, but enough remains to keep his relevance intact.

With 234 Assembly seats at stake, Karunanidhi, despite the campaign’s burden-sharing by his younger son and Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin and elder son M K Alagiri, leads the DMK on a razor’s edge. The party is contesting only 119 of those seats, having conceded a major chunk of 63 seats to the Congress.

Jayalalitha on the other hand, has a larger slate to work her electoral sums as the AIADMK alone is contesting 160 seats, sharing 64 seats with three other major parties including the DMDK, CPI and CPM.

As the BJP emerged a ‘serious player’ in this contest, other parties’ potential to cut into the anti-DMK votes cannot be ignored. In some places, even Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) was in the fray, besides newer outfits like ‘Indiya Jananayaka Katchi’ on an anti-corruption platform.

And MDMK votes are likely to go to DMK. While the advantage might appear to rest with Jayalalitha, the poll equation is so complex this time that a bare one to two percentage points’ swing could make all the difference to who will win the battle for Tamil Nadu.

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