Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow
BENGALURU—Last week, T.T.V Dinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazagam (AMMK) party forged an alliance with the AIMIM and the SDPI sharing 3 and 6 assembly seats respectively among them for the Tamil Nadu’s 234-member legislative assembly election. The AMMK has also sealed an alliance with the film actor Captain Vijayakant’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) on Sunday leaving 60 seats to the party to contest, in which 23 are reserved. The DMDK has walked out of the AIADMK-BJP alliance recently.
The sixteen legislative assembly election for 234 seats of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly is to be held on 6 April 2021. The results will be declared on May 2.
Dinakaran is a sitting MLA of R.K Nagar constituency in Chennai, which he had won, after J Jayalalithaa’s death, in the 2017 byelection by a whopping margin of more than 40,000 votes. The constituency was earlier represented by Jayalalithaa. Dinakaran had won the election surpassing Jayalalithaa’s winning margin by 1,162 votes. After the win, Dinakaran floated AMMK in March 2018, which is a breakaway faction of Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Dinakaran is nephew of V.K Sasikala – the close political aide of Jayalalithaa and the claimed heir of Jayalalithaa’s political legacy. Sasikala’s political aspirations were thwarted by her 4-year jail term in disproportionate assets case which she had to under go immediately after Jayalalithaa’s death and completed recently. Dinakaran aims to fill the political vacuum left by Jayalalithaa after her death.
To understand the implications of the alliance of the All India Majlis-e-Itehandul Muslimeen (AIMIM), the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and the AMMK in the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly election, we spoke to Chennai-based Azeez Lutfullah, veteran editor of the fortnightly Tamil magazine Samarasam.
In your opinion, is AIMIM, SDPI, AMMK alliance a force to reckon with?
Mr Owaisi is no force to reckon with in Tamil Nadu. His party contested last assembly election from Vaniyambadi. He had held just one public meeting last time 10 days before the election, and by chance his party polled over 10,000 votes. President of AIMIM Tamil Nadu, Vakeel Ahmed Timiri has been involved in Katta Panchayaths (local version of Khap Panchayat) and he is not a respectable figure. Owaisi’s mission will stop in Tamil Nadu.
What about the AMMK?
Initially people here in Tamil Nadu had hopes with the AMMK, when the party took stand against the BJP Muslims too got attracted towards the party, but popularity of it has fastly faded away. Dinakaran had some influence when he was in the AIADMK, but after his exit it remains to be seen how he would perform. He has some financial reserves on which he is banking to win the election. But people of Tamil Nadu have come to realize that Dinakaran is an opportunist and politically shrewd person.
Is the SDPI in the picture anywhere?
The SDPI is definitely in the picture but not as a political force. They have good cadre base, but it is not well trained. They indulge in too much of loose talk over social media and have aggresive approach. In COVID-19 Pandemic, they have worked relentlessly especially when it comes to performing last rights of the deceased persons due to COVID-19, but, in my view, if they believe this nature of social work can produce dividends in terms of winning an election then it is wrong. One needs to take political stand to win an election. We know that Irom Chanu Sharmila (also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur”) was on hunger strike for more than 16 years demanding abolishing of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, in seven states, when she contested election, she could manage to get a paltry 90 votes from Thoubal constituency in Manipur. Politics is a different ball game.
Is this alliance in any way going to affect the prospects of the two main political forces of the State, the DMK and the AIADMK?
Both the parties have their own vote banks. The DMK’s vote bank is intact. But the AIADMK’s vote bank has split. EPS and OPs came together to consolidate the vote bank, yet they lack a charismatic leader. And there is incumbency factor too. The AIADMK has also split now after Dinakaran and Sasikala’s exit. They tried to rope in Rajnikanth but failed. AIADMK has also failed to deliver goods.
Do you see Kamal Hasan as a threat to the DMK or the AIADMK?
Kamal Hasan is a joker. He is a hardcore Brahmin, camouflaged as liberal, leftist. Kamal Hasan has not taken any stand on several issues such as Pollachi sex scandal, Jallikattu, and Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) firing case to name a few.
Do you think smaller parties have any scope in this election or role to play?
It will be a sweep for the DMK in this election. In Tamil Nadu, it is either DMK or AIADMK for the last 50 years, and this is how it is happening.
Who do you think minorities will vote for this time, the DMK or the AIADMK?
Minorities including Christians, Dalits and others will vote for the DMK. Muslims will overwhelmingly vote for the DMK. There has always been a left-over chunk of minority vote bank that is taken away by some smaller parties.