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The last round of elections in 2022 has given enough grounds for optimism to the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu which hopes to share power at the Centre in 2024. Though the results of the Gujarat Assembly elections have gone on expected lines, Congress wresting power from the BJP in Himachal Pradesh and the saffron party losing a Lok Sabha seat and three of the five Assembly byelections besides winning by a narrow margin in Bihar’s Assembly seat gives sufficient reasons for Chief Minister MK Stalin to be jubilant.

After quitting the BJP front in 2004, the DMK has been consistently opposing the saffron party at the national and state level and has been unable to share power at the Centre after the UPA lost power in 2014. Despite winning 38 of 39 Parliament seats from Tamil Nadu in 2019, the DMK does not have any clout at the national level and faces hardships in running the state administration as it faces a hostile union government.

Despite winning 38 of 39 Parliament seats from Tamil Nadu in 2019, the DMK does not have any clout at the national level and faces hardships in running the state administration as it faces a hostile union government

The DMK government is up against a tough financial situation and is struggling to implement its election promises and continue welfare schemes. The increase of power tariff by the State government has drawn widespread resentment among the people and the opposition parties are focusing their criticism on livelihood issues to cash in on people’s disaffection.

State Financial Minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan has been complaining that the Centre is not releasing Tamil Nadu’s share of funds even while the State provides a lion’s share of the Union government’s tax revenues. The ruling party is unable to scrap NEET, one of its major poll promises, and is facing a belligerent Governor who has not given assent to any of the Bills passed by the State Assembly. The State government can breathe easy and implement its poll promises only if there is a change of dispensation in Delhi.

Also Read: Can BJP beat DMK by playing the Tamil chord?

The BJP has swept Gujarat after hectic campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in their own State and promises of ‘Gujarat Olympic Mission’ as well as free education for girl students, The Congress’ vote share has drastically come down to less than 30 per cent while the new entrant, AAP, has polled more than 10 per cent of votes.

In Himachal Pradesh, where the AAP obtained just one per cent of votes, failing to split the opposition votes, the Congress reclaimed power from the ruling BJP. The saffron party was not able to retain power despite Modi’s campaign and promises of “double engine growth” (development that comes when the ruling party at the State and Centre is the same) in Himachal Pradesh.

With the Congress proving its strong presence in three states, the party is likely to demand the same number of Parliament seats in the DMK alliance, which will start the poll campaign in a positive mood

The party, which rules the nation from Delhi, has also lost the civic polls in the capital despite serious campaigning by union ministers in every corporation ward. It has won two seats in the Hindi heartland states where bypolls were held along with the Gujarat Assembly elections. In Uttar Pradesh, the party lost the Mainpur Lok Sabha seat one of the two Assembly seats. In Bihar, the BJP won by a narrow margin in Kuhani where the AMIM and SUCI polled more than the victory margin. The ruling Biju Janata Dal came out with a thumping win in Orissa’s Bhanupratappur Assembly bypoll. The Congress which rules Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh has won the byelections to the Assembly constituencies in both states.

The BJP has proved its strength in Gujarat whereas the Congress and regional players have proved their strength in their territories. With the Congress proving its strong presence in three states, the party is likely to demand the same number of Parliament seats in the DMK alliance, which will start the poll campaign in a positive mood.

Also Read: After BJP bid to politicise car blast, DMK toughens stand against RSS

The DMK shared power at the Centre in 1989 as a constituent of the National Front and again got cabinet berths in 1996 when it was a member of the United Front. The party was allocated key ministries in the UPA government from 2004 to 2014. If the party wins a majority of constituencies in the 2024 Parliamentary elections and the BJP was unable to get a majority at the national level, the DMK hopes to play a crucial role at the national level.


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