AIADMK Takes A Muslim Plunge in Elections


The AIADMK’s alliance with the SDPI is a bid to shed the BJP baggage and a response to the DMK’s propaganda….reports Asian Lite News

 The main Opposition party of Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK has reworked its poll strategy and is trying to woo the minority Muslim community to its fold.

The party, which had snapped ties with the BJP in September 2023, is fighting the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls by constituting a new alliance.

The AIADMK’s new alliance comprises the Desiya Dravida Murpokku Kazhagam (DMDK), the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) which is the political arm of the banned Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Puthiya Tamilagam (PT).

The AIADMK entering into an alliance with the proscribed PFI’s political arm SDPI was unexpected, even though it was trying to constitute a predominantly Muslim formation.

This was to shed its image of being pro-BJP and also to woo Muslim voters.

The DMK leadership has also been trying to create confusion among the voters by saying that the AIADMK would go for a post-poll alliance with the BJP if the situation demands.

So, the AIADMK’s alliance with the SDPI is a bid to shed the BJP baggage and a response to the DMK’s propaganda.

Zacharias Joseph, Director, Centre for Studies on Emerging Societies and political analyst, told IANS, “The AIADMK is trying to woo the Muslim community hence the party has entered into an alliance with the SDPI. However, the DMK has the much more sober Muslim political party, the Indian Union Muslim League by its side. The AIADMK has gone from Hindutva to Islamist in the blink of an eye and this does not augur well for the party.”

In Tamil Nadu, the Muslims constitute 5.86 per cent of the population and it is spread across all districts. The community has a presence of 15 per cent in Ramanathapuram District while it has only 1.09 per cent presence in Ariyalur District.

The SDPI got the sympathy of the Muslims after the NIA raids and arrests of several senior PFI leaders. The AIADMK is trying to cash in on this sympathy factor in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The AIADMK has a solid vote bank in Tamil Nadu and the party had secured 33 per cent of the total votes polled in the 2021 Assembly elections, which is just 4 per cent less than that of the DMK front that ultimately won the elections.

The party faced the 2021 Assembly elections after ten years in power since 2011 and even without its towering leader J Jayalalithaa it won 66 Assembly seats and 33 per cent vote share. This clearly shows that the AIADMK still has a good grass root presence in the state.

Second list of candidates

Tamil Nadu’s opposition AIADMK on Thursday released its second and final list of 17 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in the state as well as adjoining Puducherry, fielding several new faces and one woman.

Of Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha constituencies, the AIADMK will contest 32 seats, leaving five seats to its ally, the DMDK, and one each to the Puthiya Tamilagam, and the Social Democratic Party of India. It will also contest the sole seat of Puducherry.

The second list, released by party General Secretary and former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the party headquarters here, comprises comparatively new faces except for three.

It also features one woman – Shimla Muthuchozhan, daughter-in-law of DMK leader and former minister, S.P Saranga Pandian. Muthuchozhan, who will contest from Tirunelveli, joined the party earlier this month after quitting the DMK, which had fielded her against late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa in the 2016 Assembly elections.

The party had faced criticism after its first list of 16 candidates in Tamil Nadu did not have any women candidates.

The second list also includes three-time MLA R. Kumaraguru, who defeated DMDK leader and actor, Vijayakanth in the 2016 state polls but lost to his DMK rival in 2021, from Kallakurichi, and Singai T. Ramachandran, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad and son of former party MLA Govindarasum, from Coimbatore.

Ramachandran was made the AIADMK IT Wing’s Secretary by Jayalalithaa but was replaced with ‘Aspire’ K. Swaminathan in March 2016. When the party split in February 2017, Ramachandran was with the camp led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.

The other candidates are G. Premkumar (Sriperumbudur), S. Pasupathi (Vellore), R. Ashokan (Dharmapuri), M. Kaliyaperumal (Tiruvannamalai), P. Arunachalam (Tiruppur), Karthik Appusamy alias A. Karthikeyan (Pollachi), P. Karuppiah (Tiruchi), N.D. Chandramohan (Perambalur), P. Babu (Mayiladuthurai); Panagudi A. Xavierdoss (Sivaganga), R. Sivasami Velumani (Thoothukudi), Basiliyan Nazareth (Kanniyakumari) and D. Lokesh Tamilselvan (Nilgiris-SC).

G. Tamilvendan will contest from Puducherry.

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