Tamil Nadu

Of symbols & victories

The results of this election have again thrown up the question on the significance of the symbol.

In the run-up to the election, the seat-sharing talks in the DMK camp were held up over one count: what should be the symbol for the smaller allies to contest on. The DMK insisted that the smaller parties contest on its ‘rising sun’ symbol because it was popular. While the MDMK, the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and a few other parties relented, the VCK and the IUML were firm on contesting on their own symbols.

In the AIADMK camp, the Tamil Maanila Congress and a few smaller parties agreed to contest on the ‘two leaves’ symbol.

The insistence of the major Dravidian parties on their allies contesting on the ‘borrowed’ symbols was based on the premise that the prospects would be brighter if candidates sought votes on a ‘familiar’ symbol. Furthermore, once a candidate was elected on a party’s symbol, he/she would be bound by the whip of that party during voting in the Assembly.

However, the results have proved that the familiarity with a symbol may not matter for ever. The TMC has failed to win even one of the six seats where it had contested on the AIADMK’s symbol. On the contrary, the VCK, which contested on the ‘pot’ symbol allotted to it midway during the campaign, has managed to establish leads in four constituencies.

Interestingly, the MDMK, which contested on the DMK symbol in six seats, has established leads in four constituencies. Four other candidates of smaller parties who contested on the ‘rising sun’ symbol are ahead of their nearest rivals.

In the AIADMK camp too, one candidate of a small outfit contesting on the ‘two leaves’ symbol is set to win.

Analysts say the issue of contesting on a ‘borrowed’ symbol has been in vogue for many decades, but it assumed significance in 2016 when the AIADMK, under Jayalalithaa, allotted seats only to allies that agreed to contest on its symbol. Thus, for the first time, the ‘two leaves’ symbol was seen in all 234 constituencies in that election.

After a few candidates of other parties won in the last Lok Sabha election on the DMK symbol, a lawyer moved the Madras High Court challenging the practice.

Party functionaries, however, say several factors are at play in deciding the winning probability of a candidate. The candidate’s reputation in the constituency, his rapport with the workers of the allies in the constituency, his work in the past in that area are among the factors which are likely to influence the result. And no known symbol can change his/her chances.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 9:06:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/of-symbols-victories/article34468814.ece

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