Tamil Nadu

AIADMK gearing up to face challenging times

The results of the rural local bodies elections in nine districts have not come as a huge surprise to the AIADMK, which is gradually coming to terms with the reality after losing power five months ago.

The local bodies elections invariably go in favour of the party in power, says a senior leader, who is in charge of one of the key northern districts. But the leadership, he says, is conscious of the party’s basic strength — an extensive organisational network — and aware of the need for building on the strength so that the party can bounce back in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Many others hold a similar view.

However, the functionaries concede that the party’s strength needs to be maintained at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Naam Tamilar Katchi, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Makkal Needhi Maiam are keen on expanding their vote base, making use of the opportunity presented by the Assembly election verdict. “These parties sense that the vote base of the AIADMK, which is bereft of any charismatic leader, should be vulnerable to erosion now. In such circumstances, it is challenging to keep the party going and sustain our base,” says another leader from a western district.

‘Tremendous show’

What the leaders keep on saying is that the AIADMK performed “tremendously” in the Assembly election, compared with the 2019 Lok Sabha election. It will be able to do so in the coming years even if it has to face difficult times.

The long-standing members are not oblivious to the fact that in the Assembly election, the party drew a blank in nine districts, including Chennai, Tiruchi and Ramanathapuram. These nine districts account for 54 constituencies. The party captured 22 seats in 2016. It has to widen its social base among the Backward Classes and re-build its network in these districts.

In the Assembly election, about 45% of the party’s candidates in the general seats belonged to three communities: Vanniyakula Kshatriya, Mukkalothar and Gounders. “You don’t find such a lopsided representation in the DMK, which accommodates a greater number of Backward Classes or non-Brahmin communities than what we do,” says a veteran from the Cauvery delta region.

‘No review’

Many participants of the meeting, held at the party headquarters on Monday, were disappointed that even at the meeting, no review of the party’s performance took place. Instead, all those who were allowed to speak were asked to stick to the agenda: the preparations for the party’s golden jubilee celebration.

J.C.D. Prabhakar, a member of the steering committee, reiterated his suggestion that the building, which houses the party’s headquarters, be named after founder and former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran.

Former Ramanathapuram MP A. Anwhar Raajhaa expressed his disapproval in strong terms of even senior leaders praising the DMK in and outside the Assembly. His point was that those who voted for the AIADMK wanted the party’s representatives to highlight the government’s shortcomings.

The meeting did not discuss the subject of selecting the next chairman of the presidium. However, the leadership did not forget to send out one message — no compromise with V.K Sasikala, former interim general secretary, who is reportedly planning to resume her political activity later this week.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 4:26:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/aiadmk-gearing-up-to-face-challenging-times/article36975211.ece

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