After the humongous success of BJP in the 2019 polls, the verdict of the Vellore parliamentary constituency, was keenly watched by political observers. Elections for the Vellore constituency was countermanded by the Election Commission following seizure of 11.48 crores allegedly belonging to DMK candidate Kathir Anand.
DMK stalwart Duraimurugan’s son Kathir Anand, scraped through with a slender margin of a little over than 8000 votes. Though it is indeed a victory, this is a warning sign for the DMK, which turned the Hindutva wave across the country and swept the state along with Pondicherry in the 2019 general elections. DMK leader MK.Stalin was able to stitch together a formidable alliance with Congress and other parties and navigated the state against a national trend, decisively.
After a decisive defeat in the lok sabha polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy gave a tough competition to the DMK combine, which is evident from the votes garnered by ADMK candidate AC.Shanmugam.
After the demise of DMK leader M.Karunanidhi, the DMK party is going through a crucial phase in its history. Due to the success of right wing and fascist forces across the country, the very idea of Dravidianism is under challenge now. Hindutva forces are striking at the root of the Dravidian politics and with their overwhelming success in the 2019 polls, they view Tamil Nadu as a sore thumb as it withstood their onslaught.
Senior journalist RK.Radhakrishnan, while commenting on today’s result said, “Victory margin should be a cause of worry for the DMK. Going by the 2019 verdict, DMK should have won Vellore constituency by more than a lakh votes. The thin victory margin signals a shift in people’s faith in DMK” said Radhakrishnan. He further added, “the result also shows that CM Edappadi Palanisamy is gaining ground not only in Vellore, but across Tamil Nadu”.
As Radhakrishnan points out, the victory margin is a cause of concern in respect of DMK. With Edappadi Palanisamy, ascertaining himself as a leader and gaining acceptance across Tamil Nadu, the 2021 assembly polls is not going to be a cake walk for the DMK. The victory margin of DMK’s Kathir Anand is just 8141. Seeman led Nam Tamilar Katchi has polled 26,995 votes which is more than double the victory margin should send alarm bells to the DMK. Stalin should also not forget that DMK’s victory margin of 8141 could be achieved in the absence of TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK and Kamal Hassan’s MNM. Considering their not so poor performance in the May 2019 polls, had they contested and polled a few thousand votes, DMK would have lost the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency to ADMK without an iota of doubt.
Journalist Lakshmi Subramanian echoed the same thoughts. She too pointed out about the thin victory margin. She said “With a total of 1553 booths, if you divide the victory margin it would be a little over 5 per booth which is not at all a good sign for the DMK. Edappadi Palanisamy is growing stronger every day and he would not hesitate to ditch BJP and face the 2021 polls, if he decides it as a liability”
About a fortnight ago, popular Tamil bi-weekly Junior Vikatan did a cover story terming the party DMK as a firm being controlled by the trio Durga Stalin, Udhayanidhi Stalin and Sabareesan. Though Durga Stalin slapped a defamation notice on Vikatan group claiming a damage of 10 crores, party insiders say, most of the information that appeared in the Vikatan article are true.
No one can deny that Vellakovil Swaminathan, who was heading DMK’s youth wing was forced to resign to anoint Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi in his place. Following his anointment, DMK’s youth wing has assumed curious significance, with MK. Stalin himself heading a party secretaries’ meeting in “Anbagam”, DMK youth wing headquarters instead of party headquarters Arivalayam. As pointed out in the vikatan article, DMK MP and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi was conspicuously absent in the campaign for Vellore.
Party insiders also point out another instance. The prestigious Hindu group, brought out a book on DMK stalwart Karunanidhi titled “Oru Manithan Oru Iyakkam”. The book release function was to be held on 6th of August and Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi was to receive the first copy. But, conspicuously Kanimozhi, who revers her father was absent from the function and Lok Sabha debate on Kashmir was cited as the reason, though it was TR.Balu, who spoke on behalf of DMK on the day.
The Hindu group which has never brought out any book for any leader in its 130 years history chose to glorify Karunanidhi with a book and the DMK President Stalin who should at least have replaced Kanimozhi with himself, instead chose to send a second rung leader RS.Bharathy to the event.
The Hindu group did not expect such a cold reception from the DMK leadership and murmurs could be heard inside the organization that the book should not have been brought out at all.
Earlier, DMK has filed a defamation suit for 100 crores against the Vikatan group for a story linking DMK to lottery baron Martin. This was followed by a defamation notice by Durga Stalin for 10 crores for another story. By filing such cases, Stalin has antagonized a reputed media group which sources say, is not willing for a compromise. Likewise, cold-shouldering a reputed media group like The Hindu, doesn’t augur well for a leader like MK.Stalin who is dreaming to be the Chief Minister in a couple of years.
Today, MK.Stalin is the only active leader in the country, who suffered the dark days of the Emergency. There is an overwhelming responsibility on the shoulders of Stalin to emerge as a national leader and as an alternate to fascist forces. Time requires MK.Stalin to emerge as a statesman and become a rallying point for anti-fascist forces. But, party insiders feel, MK.Stalin is very reluctant to take up such a responsibility but keen on promoting his son.
For the young voters in the age group of 18-30, the legacy of DMK or Dravidian politics doesn’t matter. In their eyes, they only see a leader who is thrusting his son on them forcibly as a leader. They cannot see the dangers of fascist forces but see only dynastic politics. They do not see DMK as an alternate to either AIADMK or BJP but view DMK as a party of heirlooms.
The RSS and fascist forces are at our doorsteps and the fight should not only be in electoral field but also at the ideological level. The fight against fascism is going to be long and hard and it is up to Stalin to make the people trust him to take the fight forward.
The Vellore election result is a warning sign and it is up to Stalin not to repeat the mistakes and carry on the mantle of Kalaignar Karunanidhi.