GST, DeMo and Modi key issues in Tamil Nadu

Party workers raise slogans during the BJP-AIADMK-PMK alliance mega rally ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, in Chennai, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. PTI

An intense three-way electoral contest is on the anvil in Tamil Nadu which will vote to elect the next Lok Sabha on April 18 amid a perceptible anti-incumbency against the BJP and AIADMK governments at the Centre and State.
 
The Centre's policies like demonetisation, GST, "imposition" of NEET, Hindi and Sanskrit and the state government's adamant nature in implementing projects like the eight-way lane between Chennai and Salem despite opposition from the locals are some of the key issues that would determine the election results.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be another major issue this election in Tamil Nadu as every political discussion in the state is centred on him — he has faced massive protests both on the ground and on social media whenever he has stepped on the state's soil since April 2018.

The election is being keenly watched by everyone since this is the first election that Tamil Nadu is facing after its political stalwarts, J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, passed away.

Both the ruling AIADMK and a resurgent DMK have stitched together formidable alliances to take on the other. AIADMK rebel T T V Dhinakaran is also in the fray having fielded candidates in all 40 Lok Sabha seats, including Puducherry.
 
The "surrender" of the state's rights by the Edappadi K Palaniswami government before the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s "fascist" policies are some of the issues that are being raised by the DMK-Congress alliance.

In their counter, the AIADMK-BJP-PMK combine are seeking votes for continuation of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

In north Tamil Nadu, the eight-way lane between Chennai and Salem, which cuts through farm lands in the five districts of Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Salem, will have a major bearing on the elections, while water scarcity will be a major issue in Chennai and neighbouring areas.

17 Lok Sabha seats fall under this region.
 
In the western region, which helped the AIADMK retain power in 2016, the Pollachi sexual abuse case, in which several young girls were sexually harassed by a group of men with political links, might weigh heavy on the minds of the voters when they go to the polling stations, besides the troubles suffered by labourers and entrepreneurs due to the implementation of demonetisation and GST.

Killing of 13 people in police firing during the anti-Sterlite agitation on May 22, 2018 and constant police presence in the port city of Thoothukudi; "tardy" relief and rehabilitation of victims of Cyclone Ochki that hit the Kanniyakumari coast in December 2017; livelihood of lakhs of fireworks labourers who have been affected due to the order that only "green crackers" can be manufactured are some of the major issues that could decide voting pattern in southern Tamil Nadu, which accounts for 10 Lok Sabha seats.

In the central regions of the state, Cyclone Gaja that wrecked the lives of coconut farmers, the Cauvery river water issue and extraction of Methane from agricultural fields are the major issues concerning the people.

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GST, DeMo and Modi key issues in Tamil Nadu

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