Wednesday, March 15, 2006

TN Poll Masala

I have been writing for about three months on my blog now. The highest amount of hits - I recently found out how to track this - was on the day Vaiko shifted camps and I blogged this. I got 96 visitors that day, the highest on my site so far. Cheers, guys.
The seating sharing within the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), the main Opposition coalition in Tamil Nadu is over, for the large part at least. A few wrinkled need to ironed out. CPI has some grouches about it getting fewer seats than the CPM. Also, the fate of INTUC, the trade union wing of the Congress party, is ambivalent. There appears to be split that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has engineered within the INTUC. The rebel group has announced that it will support Amma's AIADMK.
The elections will be notified on April 13 and campaign, which has already begun, will really go into high gear after that.
I was surprised to learn that contrary to what I had said in my post on Vaiko, AIADMK does stand a good chance of winning. The last three elections having witnessed a sweep against one Dravidian party or the other, poll pundits are predicting another sweep. I am not sure if really AIADMK can win with such a weak coalition.
AIADMK swept to power in 1991 after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination and reports of DMK's alleged hand in it. DMK hit back with equal vigour in 1996, the sweep coming in the face of a widespread scandal over Amma's corrupt ways and the massive amount of money she had spent on marrying off her adopted son. In the absence of any major such reasons, AIADMK swept back to power in great style in 2001 even as legal questions hampered Jaya's quest for the CM's chair.
Will there be yet another sweep? Do the people of Tamil Nadu have an overwhelming need for change. Has anything really happened to boost Amma's chances of retaining power since it lost all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the last parliamentary elections to the DMK-led alliance?
Two things of some significance of indeed happened. One, Veerappan was shot dead and two, Sankaracharya was arrested and is being tried in court.
Also prior to the elections, Jayalalithaa has rolled back many of the stringent measures she had imposed on the people. A source said that she is willing to pump in Rs 300 crore to win this election. Will she be able to do it with only Vaiko and Thirumavalavan on her side? That's the question that will and can be answered even as the campaign begins. Right now, people don't know which way they are going to vote. Not yet. Let the policians start gunning and then we will know for sure.