Tamil Nadu

Shock for DMK, disappointment for Congress

DMK president M.K. Stalin.

DMK president M.K. Stalin.   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

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The national party’s dependence on Vasanthakumar’s ‘good work’ didn’t pay off

The outcome of the bypolls to the Vikravanadi and Nanguneri Assembly constituencies has shocked the DMK, given the huge victory margins with which the AIADMK wrested them.

While DMK president M.K. Stalin has expectedly accused the AIADMK of splurging money and abusing power, he can’t downplay its victory by stating that byelections generally tend to favour the ruling party, as his own party had won 13 of the 22 Assembly constituencies where bypolls were held this summer. The DMK had also won the deferred Vellore Lok Sabha poll with a narrow margin.

Though the ruling party has an advantage over the Opposition in a byelection, the DMK had constituted a mega committee to oversee the byelections, roping in all the district secretaries, MLAs, MPs and senior leaders.

In Nanguneri, where the DMK’s ally, the Congress, fielded its candidate, the national party was confident that the “good work” done by H. Vasanthakumar, whose resignation triggered the bypoll, would come in handy.

However, the campaign style of the ruling party, particularly the tour of the constituency by AIADMK co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, gave the ruling party candidate an edge. The AIADMK has won despite the fact that a section of Dalits boycotted the bypoll to highlight their demand for delisting them as Scheduled Castes.

The Congress is also under criticism from within its ranks. Second-line leaders admitted that they paid a heavy price in Nanguneri, handing it over to the AIADMK on a platter. “The party should realise it should not have allowed a sitting MLA to contest in the Parliamentary election. Anyone in the place of Mr. Vasanthakumar would have won in Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency, given the ground reality in the constituency,” pointed out a leader.

Transfer of votes

The outcome in Vikravandi has proved that the PMK has managed to transfer its Vanniyar votes to the AIADMK, to the detriment of the DMK.

Certain other factors too appear to have upset sections of DMK functionaries. Mr. Stalin has now said that the lessons of the past would help the party win future elections, but it seems that the DMK has not learnt some lessons from its past.

Party insiders pointed out that while Mr. Stalin revamped the youth wing in such a way that the sons and daughters of DMK leaders won’t become office-bearers, he conveniently overlooked this norm to anoint his son Udhayanidhi as the secretary of the youth wing.

He had bifurcated and trifurcated the party’s district units to reduce the power of district secretaries and give space to new faces. But the last Lok Sabha polls witnessed sons and daughters of party leaders being given tickets.

Mr. Stalin may say that no political party can claim to be an exemption to this trend, but in that case ,the DMK cannot claim the moral high ground over other political parties.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:38:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/shock-for-dmk-disappointment-for-cong/article29790664.ece

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