With the second phase of bypolls for four Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu to be held on May 19, the announcement of results for 22 Assembly seats along with 38 Lok Sabha seats on May 23 will be crucial in deciding the fate of the state government as the AIADMK fears running short of majority.
AIADMK has 113 MLAs, excluding the Speaker and including three Independent MLAs who won the elections on the AIADMK symbol in 2016. The ruling dispensation fears that a sweeping victory of the DMK, as predicted by many opinion polls, would essentially help the opposition party to stake its claim. DMK has 97 MLAs, including eight from Congress and one from the Indian Union Muslim League.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader TTV Dhinakaran, who defeated the AIADMK and DMK in 2017, is an Independent MLA, and his camp claims the support of at least two or three MLAs who are officially in the AIADMK camp.
“If DMK gets 21 seats, they will have 118 MLAs, past the mark of 117 to form the government. However, results of Lok Sabha polls will set the trend in Assembly bypolls too. We have to wait and see,” a senior AIADMK leader said. He said the AIADMK government, which is surviving on a thin majority with a reduced strength of 212 in the House against the original strength of 234, will have to win a minimum of eight seats to run the government till 2021.
As campaigns are in progress for the bypolls in Sulur, Tirupparankundram, Aravakurichi and Ottapidaram (SC) seats, top AIADMK leaders, who are campaigning with maximum resources on the ground, said Sulur gives them hope while the three other seats pose a question.
Aravakurichi has a sizeable number of Gounder and Muslim voters and the rival DMK candidate here is Senthil Balaji, the former AIADMK minister who joined DMK last year and has significant influence among the Gounder community.
In Tirupparankundram, which has a majority of OBC-Thevar voters, there is a tri-corner contest between AIADMK, DMK and Dhinakaran’s AMMK, a party with a strong influence among Thevar community.
In Ottapidaram (SC) constituency, a sizeable number of Dalit votes may go in favour of the DMK alliance.