BJP set to play crucial role in TN Assembly election

BJP set to play crucial role in Tamil Nadu Assembly election

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and DMK President M K Stalin face their acid test

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Credit: PTI File Photo

Not just the first Assembly polls without two political giants — M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa — the April 6 elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly will be a watershed moment for another reason — the results will usher in a new generation of leaders for the politically-crucial state.

Unlike in the past, the BJP, which hardly has any base in Tamil Nadu, is set to play a crucial role this election as it has taken up the task of “uniting” all “like-minded” parties to take on a resurgent DMK, which is out of power for a decade. It now calls the shots within the alliance led by the AIADMK though the saffron party is likely to contest in just around 25 to 30 seats.

The elections to 234 Assembly constituencies are being held two years after the DMK-led alliance romped home by winning 38 of 39 Lok Sabha seats at stake. The term of the 15th Assembly ends on May 24, 2021, and over 6 crore people are eligible to vote.

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Much like the 2019 election, the 2021 contest will be multi-cornered and intense though the main fight is likely to narrow between the alliances led by the two Dravidian majors — DMK and AIADMK.

AMMK, a splinter group of AIADMK, MNM of actor Kamal Haasan, and Tamil nationalist Seeman’s NTK are the other players who will be noticed this election. While the DMK alliance consists of Congress, CPI (M), CPI, VCK, IUML, and MNMK, the AIADMK rainbow alliance includes BJP, PMK, DMDK, TMC, and New Justice Party.

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Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and DMK President M K Stalin face their acid test – stakes are quite high for Stalin as he shoulders the responsibility of bringing the party back to power after 10 years. For Palaniswami, the challenge is not just to convince people to give another chance for his government but also overcome problems within the AIADMK and from his former boss – V K Sasikala, who has staked claim to Jayalalithaa’s legacy. Not to forgot the anti-incumbency as the party has been in power since 2011.

As for the issues, the DMK has made AIADMK’s “decade-long corruption” and the party being “subservient” to the BJP as its major plank. The DMK has also been attacking the BJP “imposing” Hindi on the people of Tamil Nadu denying Tamil Nadu its rights under the Constitution.

However, the AIADMK not just rejects these allegations but launched a massive media blitzkrieg as part of its “Tamil Nadu On A Progressive Path” campaign.

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