Lok Sabha Elections 2014: Tamil Nadu analysis

Tamil Nadu goes to polls on the 24th of April 2014. The elections in the 39 parliamentary seats would be conducted in one phase. The near 72.14 million population of Tamil Nadu is divided amongst 7 Scheduled caste and 32 General seats of the Lok Sabha. The capital city of Chennai has been divided into three constituencies of Chennai North, Chennai South and Chennai Central.

The DMK is one of the oldest and most power parties contesting the elections. The DMK had effectively consolidated itself after coming to power in the 1967 elections. After the untimely demise of party founder C N Annadurai, M Karunanidhi became the Chief Minster of the state and has since been heading the DMK.  There has been fierce infighting within the DMK to ascertain Karunanidhi’s successor. The battle ranges between siblings M K Alagiri and M K Stalin.

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While Karunanidhi places himself behind Stalin, Alagiri’s sustains his revolt against the party leadership’s decision to side-line him.

The AIADMK is the currently ruling party in the state. With party leader J Jayalalithaa at the helm, the AIADMK has been a force to reckon with in Tamil and national politics. The party was formed in 1972 after cine star Matinee idol M G Ramachandran (MGR) broke away from the DMK. MGR accused the Karunanidhi headed ruling DMK government of corruption and formed the AIADMK.

After his death in 1987, J Jayalalithaa seized power within the AIADMK and has since been leading the party in the state. For the 2014 elections Jayalalithaa has refuse to ally with either of the national political parties.

After the defeat in the 1967 elections, the Congress party is still struggling to regain foothold in the state. The Indian national congress on an average gains around 10 seats if their coalition partner emerges victorious in the state. This time around, none of the Dravidian parties have allied with the Congress party, considerably reducing their possibilities in the coming elections.

Riding high on the Modi wave in the country, the Bhartiya Janta Party has weaved an elaborate pre-poll alliance with six parties in the state. Headed by Party President Pon Radhakrishnan in the state, the party failed to win a single seat from Tamil Nadu in the 2009 elections. The BJP is contesting along actor-politician Vijayakanth’s DMDK, PMK founded by S. Ramadoss, Vaiko-led MDMK and first time contests IJK and the KMDK.

The DMDK will field candidates in 14 seats, the PMK and the BJP eight each, MDMK seven and the IJK and the KMDK one each.

Hoping to cash on Dalit sympathies in the state, the Bahujan Samaj Party is also contesting in the Lok Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu. Having declared candidates from all 39 seats, the party intends to expand rapidly in the state.

Parties from Tamil Nadu have been instrumental in sustaining and forming Central governments since the 70s when Karunanidhi supported the Indira Gandhi led Congress party. Both AIADMK and the DMK have been switching alliances with the Bhartiya Janta Party and the Congress to remain in power in the state.

The unpredictability of the elections in Tamil Nadu can been assessed by the alternating AIADMK and DMK governments. Both the major Dravidian parties have refused to align with either national political party. Thus leading to more than 20 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha which may waver to any faction.

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