The DMK, which has been smarting after its rout in the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar bypoll last year, could be hoping to avenge its defeat by trumping the ruling AIADMK in the Tirupparankundram byelection as and when it is held. But this is easier said than done, observers say.
The Tirupparankundram Assembly constituency had fallen vacant following the death of sitting MLA A.K. Bose.
While regional leaders of the DMK are hoping that the split in the ruling party could benefit the principal Opposition party, the fact remains that the constituency had returned the candidate of the DMK only on two occasions since 1977 — 1989 and 1996.
“The demographic profile of the constituency is such that the AIADMK always finds it easy to retain the seat. It has a strong presence of voters from the Piramalai Kallar and Mutharaiyar communities, who normally throw their weight behind the AIADMK,” acknowledges a senior DMK leader.
AMMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran, who sprung a surprise by defeating both the AIADMK and the DMK in the R.K. Nagar bypoll, is expected to make the Dravidian majors sweat again. Though it is too early to say if he would be able to repeat his magic, he is expected to split votes, and that could tilt the scales in favour of either candidate. Tirupparankundram is also rural in character. Though Mr. Dhinakaran belongs to the Thanjavur Kallar community, the Mukkulathor, as a bloc, may find it difficult to turn their back on him, it is felt. “The AMMK candidate (if fielded) will poll a substantial number of votes even if he does not win the seat,” the DMK leader observes.
But another section of the DMK disagrees with this assessment. A leader with extensive knowledge of the demography of the constituency argues that delimitation has made it more urban, and the DMK could benefit from the change.
Besides, the party is hoping to bank on a possible alliance with the CPI(M).
“The CPI(M) has a reasonable presence (in the constituency) and if the DMK joins hands with us, they could make the competition tough,” says a CPI(M) leader.
The CPI(M) had contested in the constituency in 2006 with the DMK backing and its candidate Su. Venkatesan lost the election by a narrow margin.
“But I feel the elections will be held to the constituency only along with the Lok Sabha polls. We have a lot of time,” the CPI (M) leader said.
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