National parties have lesser role to play in TN politics

Chennai: When Congress leader M Bhakthavalsalam demitted the office of the Chief Minister on March 6,1967, little did the people of Tamil Nadu know that he would be the last Chief Minister of the state from any national political party.

It was the advent of the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu with the DMK leader C.N. Annadurai becoming the chief minister of the South Indian state, followed by a series of Chief ministers from the parties.

Fanning up Tamil nationalism and anti-Hindi outrage, the Dravidian parties became highly popular and continue to rule the state till date.

Now in 2021, for the Assembly polls Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the state twice and a galaxy of senior BJP leaders ranging from Amit Shah to Nirmala Sitharaman have toured the state and attended umpteen public programs.

However, the moot question is where do the two major national parties, the BJP and Congress, stand today in the state. While both the parties have stitched up coalition with prominent Dravida parties — AIADMK and DMK — respectively, the number of seats allocated to these national parties is abysmally low.

The BJP is contesting in 20 seats as part of the AIADMK coalition for the 234-member legislative Assembly and the Congress was allotted 25 seats by the DMK, again a meager presence.

The saffron party has not shown much strength in the electoral politics of Tamil Nadu and the AIADMK justifies that the BJP was not even able to retain its Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat even after the candidate was a Union minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

The DMK has bluntly told the Congress leadership that the party wants to secure its MLAs and, hence the lesser number of seats.

Interestingly, the national parties don’t have any other option other than accept the number of seats allocated to them and work silently at the grassroots.

With no immediate future for the national parties, the politics of Tamil Nadu is all set to be centered around the Dravidian parties.

Image courtesy of (DailyO)

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