Countdown to 2021: TN parties calculate alliance arithmetic | India News
Before the allies assess their fairness and approach them with their shopping bags, the alliance leaders completed their analysis and calculated how many seats they would need to compete for a decent strike rate. While the DMK is willing to contest close to 200 seats, while recognizing the need to improvise a strong alliance, the challenge for AIADMK would be to appease the toughest allies, the PMK and the BJP, with an equitable distribution.
In the final count, allies, big or small, would count. In the DMK-led alliance, for example, Congress is the second largest constituent. “Our allies must understand that the DMK has the strength to defeat the AIADMK-led alliance and they must be accommodative,” said a senior DMK leader, seeking anonymity. In the 2011 assembly elections, M Karunanidhi was generous enough to shed 63 seats to ally himself with Congress, which won just five seats in the wake of the 2G scam.
In the 2016 state elections too, Congress fared poorly. Only eight of the 41 seats won. “The AIADMK won by opting for electoral districts in which Congress was contesting,” said the DMK leader, adding that his party would contest at least 185 seats this time.
“Congress must understand that to develop their party in Tamil Nadu, they need the DMK to be in power,” said the senior leader. The DMK expects a strike rate of 70% and a victory in 125 to 130 districts.
DMK Chairman MK Stalin is expected to play hard. But the Tamil Nadu Congressional Committee is unfazed. “The DMK and Congress have a great understanding,” said TNCC Chief KS Alagiri. The DMK is likely to restrict Congress to 25 or fewer seats, and the VCK is assigned 10 or more. The VCK, whose strength lies in the Dalit pockets in the northern districts, can be expected to compete for a few seats in its kitty in the DMK’s rising sun symbol. The CPI, CPM, Vaiko MDMK, IUML Muslim party, PT, educator TR Pachamuthu’s IJK, and smaller caste and communal ensembles can receive around 20 in total, and many of them have to compete for a DMK symbol.
In the AIADMK camp, senior leaders say the party is likely to follow the 2011 seat-sharing formula when it contested 160 seats under the leadership of J Jayalalithaa. He is an ally that the BJP is proving to be beyond irritating.
A belligerent party unit in Tamil Nadu has launched an intense Hindutva program, including the ‘Vetrivel Yatra’, in hopes of rapidly shoveling the goodwill of the people and strengthening its pro-Hindu vote bank before cementing its strategy of alliance with the AIADMK.
The BJP is unlikely to be happy with AIADMK’s 20-seat offering. Sources say that if Rajinikanth takes the political step, the BJP would opt for an alliance with actor Rajini Makkal Mandram, otherwise it would settle for AIADMK. There are rumors about actor Kamal Haasan teaming up with a saffron combination. “The head of the MNM, Kamal Haasan, has always indicated that we must be prepared to face the elections alone,” said a senior leader of the MNM. “But we do not rule out other options.
As for the PMK, which has been building its vanniyar bloc, the party could prove to be a tough negotiator. Pushing for a coalition configuration, the main leader said: “AIADMK should propose the sharing of power and start a new trend of ‘coalition’ in the state.”
Facing a resurgent alliance led by DMK, the former spoilers or the ‘3% to 5% vote share club in 2019’: the AMMK-led TTV Dhinakaran, the MNM, if you choose to set up on your own and Naam Tamilar Seeman’s Katchi – can be eliminated this choice.
With the electoral battle scheduled to be tough and focused more on powerful alliances and caste arithmetic rather than leadership dynamism, strategists have been working overtime, feeling the pulse of voters and assessing not just the strengths and weaknesses of rivals, but also allies. too.
Then there is the Rajinikanth factor that the arithmetic may well reverse.