AMMK, MNM can be the game changers in at least six Lok Sabha seats

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran and former AIADMK coordinator O. Panneerselvam during a marriage event in Thanjavur recently.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

The AMMK and the MNM may make a difference in the eventual outcome in at least six Lok Sabha constituencies, if one goes by their performance in the 2021 Assembly election.

The Lok Sabha seats where the MNM and the AMMK, led by Kamal Haasan and T.T.V. Dhinakaran respectively, hold the key are Tiruneveli, Theni, Tenkasi, Virudhunagar, Coimbatore and Salem. At present, these parties, which have sounded receptive to the idea of joining the INDIA and the NDA, are not part of any of the State’s principal formations — the INDIA and the NDA with the DMK and the AIADMK being the dominant constituents respectively. Keeping this in mind, it is assumed that the compositions of the coalitions headed by the DMK and the AIADMK that faced the 2021 election would not undergo any major change for the Lok Sabha poll, and the vote base of the two smaller parties would not have undergone any erosion. In Tamil Nadu, six assembly seats form one Lok Sabha constituency. The Congress, two Left parties, the MDMK, the VCK, the IUML and the MMK remain the allies of the DMK. With respect to the AIADMK front, the BJP and the PMK contested in the 2021 election together with the party and despite the changes in their equations since then, they all appear to be on one side of the political spectrum as of now. The AIADMK has been opposed to taking the AMMK into its fold, besides remaining unwilling to have rapprochement with its former coordinator, O. Panneerselvam, and former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala. Meanwhile, Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Dhinakaran have planned to participate in a demonstration together in Theni on August 1. As for tilting the scale, the AMMK’s presence can be a game changer in Tirunelveli and Theni for the AIADMK as it polled around 62,000 votes and 1.08 lakh votes in 2021, whereas the DMK-led combine was ahead of its rival by about 35,000 votes and 61,000 votes. In Tenkasi, where the lead for the AIADMK front was only about 25,000 votes, Mr. Dhinakaran’s party can widen the gap substantially as his party had netted around 1.12 lakh votes.

Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan during a campaign in Coimbatore. File photo

Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan during a campaign in Coimbatore. File photo
| Photo Credit:
S. Siva Saravanan

The MNM would not be able to do much value addition in these places for the other camp. However, In Coimbatore and Salem, the MNM can turn the tables in favour of the DMK front as it obtained 1.6 lakh votes and 38,000 votes respectively. In the former, the coalition trailed behind the NDA by about 1 lakh votes and in the latter, by around 18,000 votes. The AMMK’s entry into the NDA would not be of any consequence in these two places. Virudhunagar can emerge as a close affair for either of the formations even if the two smaller parties become constituents of the bigger formations. As such, the DMK-led combine was ahead of its rival by about 45,000 votes in 2021. The AMMK had netted around 80,000 votes and the MNM, 40,000 votes. Eventually, the lead for the INDIA would be 5,000 votes. Another constituency that is likely to face an intense contest will be Chidambaram where both the major formations and the smaller parties are virtually equally placed. Assuming that the AMMK and the MNM become constituents of the principal formations, the AIADMK front would be ahead of its rival by a mere 73 votes.

In Vellore, Kallakurichi, Namakkal and Erode, the lead for the INDIA was not more than 30,000 votes. Hence, they can also have interesting battles.

Of the remaining 28 constituencies, the DMK coalition had a clear edge over its rival in 24 and the AIADMK front in four (Tiruppur, the Nilgiris, Pollachi and Dharmapuri).

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