“My vote is for the AIADMK till the end, no matter who runs it!” said Pushpavalli, the Assistant Head of the Women’s Organisation of the AIADMK party until late 1980s.
With the alliance of BJP (Bharathiya Janata Party)and PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi) with the AIADMK party, the people of Saidapet and Kotturpuram, one of the main areas for the party expressed mixed opinions about voting.
Pushpavalli, showing her tattoo of the AIADMK’s two leaves on her right hand, said that the governance is not as efficient or strong after the former Chief Minister and AIADMK Head, Amma i.e J.Jayalalitha’s demise. She lives in Kavangarai, a thin strip of settlements across the Adyar river canal in Saidapet.
“She was the last dynamic leader. She never let any national party come in the way of Dravidian principles. Now it’s all dependant on other parties to uphold their stand in the [Legislative] Assembly,” she said. Yet Pushpavalli remains loyal only to the AIADMK. “It’s for M.G.R and Amma. Not for anybody else,” she said.
N. Sathya Moorthy, a senior political analyst said “In most elections over the past 25 years, PMK has registered a decisive five per cent vote-share. However PMK’s presence is confined mostly to only the northern and parts of the Western districts, where it could be around a higher 8 per cent in those parts. In the 2016 assembly poll, the victorious AIADMK’s vote-share was just one per cent more than that of the DMK combine, divided 41-40 per cent across the state. That makes every additional vote important for both Dravidian majors now.”
M.Kumar, an auto driver in Royapettah says “Things are about to change in a big way. Everyday there is a news saying there is some compensation for the farmers, the fishermen, the elderly and the disabled. But none of these were to be heard in the past two years. The Budget release listed many funds allocated for the economically weaker section, but none is either properly comprehendible or approachable. The corporation elections are held. Their budget is also not released. Now we have a national party and a casteist party as a part of the alliance. At least the DMK shows clear principles. I have decided to change sides this time, just to drive on better roads.”
Sathya Moorthy said that AIADMK cannot expect a clear victory with the PMK’s Vanniyar community support since it also depends on the consolidation of anti-BJP minority votes in favour of the rival alliance, possible ‘backlash’ of ‘soft Hindutva’ and Dhinakaran’s ability to split AIADMK votes, among others.
Although the major parties of Tamil Nadu have always been the AIADMK and the DMK, this election also sees new factors such as T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s AMMK (Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam) and Captain Vijaykanth’s DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam).
Vasanthi, a flower seller in Teynampet says “I do not understand why [AI]ADMK would join with BJP and PMK? Its better I vote for TTV [Dhinakaran] or Captain [Vijaykanth] this time. I know both of them are not the best suited candidates. But at least they are not BJP.”
AIADMK’s alliance, even it has gained a few extra hands in areas like Nagarcoil, Kanniyakumari and Madurai, it still has disappointed a few supporters of its own party. Yet, the loyalty of many others seem to keep their position stable.