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While everyone in Tamil Nadu is looking forward to the verdict in the Tiruvarur by-election on January 31, the result may not reflect the real strengths of the major parties in Tamil Nadu, for various reasons.

For long, bypolls have seen massive misuse of official machinery and vulgar, ostentatious display of money power, unchecked by a mute spectator, the Election Commission. Little has come of the much-hyped action of the Election Commission in cancelling the RK Nagar bypoll on the basis of ‘evidence’ that Ts 89 crore had been distributed by members of the ruling AIADMK, though the EC had asked the State Government to file a case and proceed against the guilty. The Chief Election Commissioner himself is on record that demonetisation seems to have had no impact on use of black money at the time of elections.

The DMK is hoping to retain the seat, the by-election being caused by the death of its president and former chief minister M Karunanidhi, who towards the end of his career chose to make his home town, Tiruvarur, his constituency.


The DMK is hoping to retain the seat, the by-election being caused by the death of its president and former chief minister M Karunanidhi, who towards the end of his career chose to make his home town, Tiruvarur, his constituency.

The ruling AIADMK vows to defeat the DMK here in a bid to demonstrate that it is still the number one party in the State. Its battery of ministers have begun preparations to wrest the constituency from its arch rival.

Not to be outdone, TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK, is determined to win another by-poll, on the lines of his RK Nagar victory, to show that it was not a flash in the pan. He wants to prove that Tiruvarur, and indeed, the delta belt is with him. A good showing for his party can come as a boost to his party, which is somewhat demoralized by the adverse verdict in the disqualification case, and the defection of Senthil Balaji to the DMK.

Several parties have already decided to support the DMK as they have taken part in several agitations and programmes with the DMK for over a year now. Parties like the MDMK, CPI, CPM, MMK and VCK are keen to be part of the DMK-led alliance for the parliamentary polls. The front already includes the Congress and the IUML, who were allies in the 2016 Assembly polls.

The Naam Tamizhar Katchi of Seeman has announced its decision to contest the bypoll but parties like the BJP, DMDK, PMK and TMC are yet to reveal their mind.

The votes obtained by the major parties are bound to be inflated thanks to excessive mobilization of cadres, and use of money and muscle power. Therefore, they may not reveal the ground reality in the State, though a victory for the DMK in such circumstances could be a notable one, coming as it would against the might of the ruling parties at the Centre and in the State. In that sense, the DMK could use a victory as a launch pad for a major drive to oust the AIADMK government and to win majority of seats in the LS polls. On the other hand, too much cannot be read into a victory of the ruling party, given the situation on the ground. Of course, a victory is a victory, and a triumph for the AIADMK here could help keep its flock together, and look for more allies in the coming polls.

For Dinakaran, it would be important to at least do better than the AIADMK.

It would be important to note that ruling parties have tended to win by-elections during their terms in office, whether it was the DMK or the AIADMK. An aberration in this record was the RK Nagar victory of Dinakaran, as a mere independent. Tiruvarur has plenty in store, and many intriguing stories to tell.

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