‘Two-stage assembly by-elections advantage for AIADMK’

Chennai: The two-stage by-elections for 22 vacant assembly seats in Tamil Nadu is advantageous for the ruling AIADMK as the pie has grown bigger now for a safe bite, while it is going to be an acid test for DMK President M.K. Stalin, political analysts said.

They also said in the present situation, there is no threat for the stability of the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister Palaniswami.

There are 22 assembly seats currently vacant in Tamil Nadu. The Election Commission had earlier announced by-elections on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls for 18 seats.

On Tuesday, the poll body announced by-elections for four more seats on May 19.

“The two-stage by-election for the 22 vacant assembly seats is advantageous for the ruling AIADMK. In the second phase, all the ministers can spend time in the four assembly seats and see to it that AIADMK wins them all,” Raveendhran Dhuraiswamy told IANS.

According to him, holding the by-elections for four assembly constituencies on May 19 is also good for the T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led AMMK party.

According to analysts, AIADMK may not find it difficult to win eight seats out of 22 to continue comfortably in power.

In the 234 member Tamil Nadu assembly, the ruling AIADMK has 114 members (including the Speaker), DMK-88, Congress-8, and the IUML and Independents one each.

To attain a simple majority, the AIADMK has to win just four seats in the by-elections. Factoring in the switching of camps by some of the lawmakers, the AIADMK has to win seven or eight seats in order to be safe.

On the other hand, the DMK has to win all the 22 seats to take the tally, along with its allies -Congress and IUML – to 119, just one number more than the simple majority.

Analysts are of the view that even if Chinkara’s AMMK wins a couple of seats, the DMK’s dream of coming to power by toppling the AIADMK government may not come true.

“Even if DMK wins all the 22 seats, it still needs the support of Congress to capture power. Congress, then, will demand its pound of flesh like being part of the Ministry.
The Congress can even demand the post of Deputy Chief Minister. The DMK has not shared power with Congress earlier,” political strategist John Arokiasamy told IANS.

On the other hand, if Dhinakarana’s AMMK wins a couple of seats, then the equation changes in favour of ruling AIADMK, analysts said.

“It will be an acid test for Stalin’s leadership. Assuming Dhinakaran’s AMMK wins some seats, what action Stalin will take will have to be seen,” Dhuraiswamy said.

He said that Dhinakaran may not join hands with the DMK if he emerges as a leader in his own right by winning seats, and the state government would survive.

“If Dhinakaran partners with DMK then he would fail as a leader,” Dhuraiswamy added.

“Why would Dhinakaran partner with DMK now knowing well that the latter will be in power when the assembly elections are held next year?” Arokiasamy asked.

“The AIADMK can comfortably manage the elections and win the needed number of seats to remain in power. It has to be seen whether Dhinakaran would allow DMK to get into power, if AMMK wins good number of seats, say four or five,” writer and political Commentator Maalan Narayanan told IANS.

According to Narayanan, the AMMK leader may go for a compromise with AIADMK.

There is also a possibility of Dhinakaran remaining solo and building his base to face the next assembly polls.

“If the BJP wins power at the Centre and the political situation in Tamil Nadu turns fluid, then the former can suspend the assembly for sometime to stall the DMK,” Narayanan said.