TN polls: No clear winner in sight

TN polls: No clear winner in sight

TN polls: No clear winner in sight

 The ruling Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK) in Tamil Nadu are locked in a close race for electoral supremacy in the May 16 elections.

Both parties are confident of winning, setting the stage for one of the fiercest battles ever, with no party getting a hint of a clear sign of victory yet. The mood across the state is also difficult to gauge.

While people in the southern part of the state seem to be favouring the AIADMK, those in central and eastern parts appear to be keen on voting for DMK. The caste-based northern belt is expected to witness a triangular contest between AIADMK, DMK and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK).

For chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa, the welfare schemes and freebies may be the silver-lining. In addition, Jayalalithaa’s 50% discount for women who purchase two-wheelers also touched several women voters, who are keen to take the  offer if AIADMK comes to power. “A new two-wheeler at half its rate will benefit all young, working women,” said 32-year-old Kavitha, a housewife at Erode district.

Poll surveys conducted by various satellite channels are throwing up contrasting conclusions with a few predicting a clear victory for the ruling AIADMK and others showing Opposition DMK in contention for power. It also shows that most first-time voters are undecided.

In Chennai, which has more than 15 constituencies, both parties seem to be neck-and-neck with neither being a clear favourite.  Until 5 months ago, the ruling AIADMK had the unquestionable upper hand. However, the electorate feels the heavy rain and floods in December 2015 brought out the inefficiency of the state government in terms of both handling the disaster and its poor relief efforts.

People want a corruption-free government and are more concerned about the local issues such as civic infrastructure, provision of basic amenities especially drinking water and education facilities.

Of the 2.98 crore women voters, who outnumber the men in the voter's list, most of them want the state-owned liquor shops to be closed as they feel alcohol has ruined many families.

The opposition has been quick to capitalise on this issue. This may also affect the AIADMK’s vote bank as Jayalalithaa’s promise to implement prohibition in a phased manner failed to cut ice.