2019 in review

2019 saw AIADMK bounce back after big losses, regain confidence

United front: Notwithstanding reports of unease among groups within the party, Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam have always presented themselves as a cohesive unit.

United front: Notwithstanding reports of unease among groups within the party, Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam have always presented themselves as a cohesive unit.   | Photo Credit: B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Victories in the Nanguneri and Vikravandi Assembly bypolls came as a morale booster

The ruling AIADMK, which suffered a crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha election and conceded 13 Assembly constituencies to the DMK during the bypolls in mid-2019, has managed to turn things around towards the end of the year.

Its new-found confidence is evident in the way the party has approached the ongoing elections to rural local bodies. The morale of the party leaders and cadre, which was subdued for several months this year, saw a big change when the AIADMK registered a thumping victory in the byelections to the Nanguneri and Vikravandi Assembly constituencies in October. The party had seen signs of a revival even in August, when it lost to the DMK in the election to the Vellore Parliamentary constituency by a narrow margin of over 8,000 votes.

Post-Jayalalithaa era

In the post-Jayalalithaa era, the AIADMK has been giving indications of a change in its style of functioning. Contrary to the former Chief Minister’s general practice of ejecting the allies of the party after the Lok Sabha or Assembly polls, the present “dual leadership” of Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the party coordinator and co-coordinator respectively, has retained the composition of its alliance — stitched at the time of the April-May Lok Sabha election — for the local body polls as well.

Peeved over the Opposition’s constant taunts of it being the BJP’s ‘B’ team, the AIADMK demonstrated during the seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha polls, and at the time of the campaign in Vellore, that it can assert its position.

While the DMK had set apart 10 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the Congress, the AIADMK allotted only five seats to the BJP. Also, it conveyed to the outside world that it will lead the front in the State, despite the coalition being called the National Democratic Alliance.

However, on the Triple Talaq Bill, the party did not take a clear stand. While it supported the legislation in the Lok Sabha, its members staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha. This month, the party toed the BJP’s line when the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill [which has since become an Act] was voted on in Parliament, though it had argued for the inclusion of Muslims and Sri Lankan refugees in the ambit of the law.

Another significant development the party has witnessed this year is the continuing consolidation of strength by Mr. Palaniswami. This was reflected in the observation of Electricity Minister P. Thangamani at the party’s general council meeting in November that the cadre should work hard for victory in the 2021 Assembly polls so that it could be dedicated to the Chief Minister. Notwithstanding reports of unease among groups within the party, Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam have always presented themselves as a cohesive unit.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 2:59:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/2019-saw-aiadmk-bounce-back-after-big-losses-regain-confidence/article30422549.ece

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