Puducherry Assembly polls | The contrasting fortunes of two Dravidian majors

Central paramilitary personnel along with local police deployed in front of the office of Returning Officer as filing of nominations began in Puducherry on March 12, 2021.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

The recent political churn in Puducherry, while altering the positions of the Congress and All India N R Congress, has also led to contrasting fortunes for the two Dravidian parties — AIADMK and DMK.

While the AIADMK has been left with fewer seats in the wake of the BJP playing an assertive role in the NDA, which also comprises the AINRC, the DMK has driven a hard bargain with the Congress to garner a higher share of tickets. The Congress will now contest in 15 seats, six less than 2016, while the DMK will field 13 candidates and the VCK and CPI, one each.

The AIADMK, despite its considerable presence in the political landscape of UT, has been relegated to a junior partner in the NDA. While the AINRC will contest in 16 seats, the BJP Puducherry in-charge has Nirmal Kumar Surana, has indicated that the AIADMK might be given only four constituencies while the national party would keep 10 seats.

“We have apprised the top leadership in Chennai of our displeasure. We have no choice but to abide by whatever the high command decides,” an AIADMK MLA told The Hindu.

Even if eventually the AIADMK gets seven seats, it would be first time in decades when it would field candidates in single digits.

In 2001, it won three out 18 seats in alliance with the PMK. Five years later, it won an equal number of seats while fighting in 18 constituencies in the company of Puducherry Munnetra Congress. In 2011, the AIADMK won five of the 12 seats in alliance with the AINRC.

During the last Assembly polls, the Dravidian party went alone in all 30 seats winning four and garnering 13.4 % of the votes polled.

“We have been pushed to be a junior partner and a party (BJP) which lost deposit in 17 of the 18 seats it contested last time, has been catapulted to being a senior partner. We either remain in the alliance as a junior partner or contest as a separate block,” another AIADMK member said.

In contrast, the DMK had been driving a hard bargain with its senior partner, Congress, in the Secular Progressive Alliance, following the turmoil in the national party after the recent desertions of its top leaders.

Despite the DMK having had a very low strike rate in the 2016 Assembly — it won two of the nine seats — now it is a significant player in the alliance. The Congress had won 15 out of 21 seats last time around.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:21:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/puducherry-assembly/puducherry-assembly-polls-the-contrasting-fortunes-of-two-dravidian-majors/article34054571.ece

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