As the counting of votes polled in two Tamil Nadu Assembly constituencies would be taken up on October 24, all eyes would be on the outcome as it would provide the moral edge to one of the two Dravidian parties—AIADMK and DMK—against their respective archrival.
The result would not have any bearing on the stability of the K Palaniswami-led AIADMK government nor would it boost the tally of the DMK-led front by a great margin, but a win would certainly allow one of the camps to boast of something.
In the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the AIADMK has a strength of 123 including the Speaker while the DMK has 100 MLAs.
DMK’s ally Congress has seven legislators. The simple majority mark is 118. The bypolls come months after a similar excercise in April and May when elections were held to 22 Assembly seats along with Lok Sabha polls, with DMK winning 13 of them, and AIADMK nine.
Polling to Nanguneri and Vikravandi constituencies was held on Monday. Both seats were earlier represented by MLAs of the DMK-led front.
The bypoll to Nanguneri was necessitated due to the resignation of its then legislator H Vasantha Kumar of the Congress who was elected to the Lok Sabha in April.
Vikravandi went to polls after sitting DMK MLA K Radhamani died in June.
The ruling AIADMK’s M R Muthamizhselvan and DMK’s N Pugazhendhi are locked in a straight fight in this segment.
In Nanguneri, DMK backed Congress candidate ‘Ruby’ R Manoharan, fighting the ‘outsider’ tag, is taking on Reddiyarpatti V Narayanan.
A win in even one of the constituencies for the AIADMK will further boost its morale as it would be seen as an endorsement of Palaniswami’s governance.
In the event of DMK-led alliance retaining the seats, the opposition might well use the result to paint a negative picture of the ruling AIADMK.
The opposition, especially the MK Stalin-led DMK, has been accusing the AIADMK of toeing the Central BJP’s line on many policies, even while demanding scrapping of the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) and withdrawal of various hydrocarbon projects in the state, especially in the Cauvery delta districts.
DMK and its allies including Congress and the Left had swept the April 18 Lok Sabha polls, winning 38 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone segment in neighbouring Puducherry.