Tamil Nadu assembly by-polls: AIADMK leads in 10 seats, DMK in 12

  • The final tally might just be able to upset the AIADMK applecart
  • DMK is confident that the AIADMK government will fall after the by-poll results as it would lead to more leaders within the ruling party shifting their loyalties towards Dhinakaran

BENGALURU : The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) was leading in 10 out of the 22 assembly by-polls in Tamil Nadu.

Its main rival, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), is leading in 12 of the by-poll seats, whose results will be declared later today.

The AIADMK, which has been unable to recover from the death of its popular leader J Jayalalithaa in December 2016, is staring at an uncertain future and more onslaughts by rival factions including the one led by T T V Dhinakaran.

Jayalalithaa, who retained office by winning 134 of the 234 elected assembly seats in 2016, died the same year leaving a vacuum and sending the state into a spiral as the battles between those vying to be seen as her successful political heir intensified and led to factionalism.

One faction is led by Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam while the other is led by Jayalalitha’s long time aide V K Sasikala and Dhinakaran.

DMK is confident that the AIADMK government will fall after the by-poll results as it would lead to more leaders within the ruling party shift their loyalties towards Dhinakaran.

The 22 assembly by-poll results will be announced along with the 38 out of the 39 parliamentary seats in the state on Thursday. The elections at Vellore constituency was cancelled after poll regulatory authorities made huge cash recoveries from one of the candidates, meant to be used for distribution among voters.

As it stands, the AIADMK has 113 assembly seats while its main opposition has 88. The Congress has eight while there are two independents, one Speaker and one nominated member in the 235-member Tamil Nadu assembly. The results for the 22 vacancies will be known on Thursday and could well end up in a change of regime in the south Indian state.

However, analysts like Sumanth Raman say that the AIADMK government could be protected if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retains office at the Centre.

BJP, which has little or no presence in Tamil Nadu, allied with the AIADMK to get a foothold in the state while the Congress joined hands with the DMK to regain some lost ground.

The DMK believes that it can capitalise on the anti-Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) sentiment in the state. In a recent interview to Mint, Kanimozhi, the DMK parliamentarian had said that the anti-Modi sentiment could help the party win all seats.

DMK, which is also recovering from the death of its patriarch M Karunanidhi in August last year, has kept up the pressure against the AIADMK in the state and BJP at the centre. M K Stalin, DMK president, is one of the few alliance partners of the Congress who has backed the candidature of Rahul Gandhi for PM.

BJP, which has just one parliamentary seat in 2014, is hoping that its alliance with the AIADMK will bear fruit and help it gain a strong foothold in southern state.

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