The Election Commission has announced that by-elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from Vikhravandi and Nanguneri will be held on Oct 21.
The Vikravandi seat in Villupuram district had fallen vacant following the death of sitting DMK member Radhamani in June. Nanguneri in southern Tirunelveli has fallen vacant following the election of billionaire Congressman Vasanth Kumar to the Lok Sabha from there.
The AIADMK has announced it will contest both the seats and has called for applications from aspirants as the last date for filing nominations is Sept 30. The DMK is expected to contest from Vikhravandi. It may give Nanguneri to Congress as it had won from there in the 22 Assembly by-elections held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in April.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president met DMK president M K Stalin at Arivalayam in Chennai on Saturday to formally stake claim for Nanguneri. He was accompanied by former PCC chief and senior leader Kumari Anandan, who is the elder brother of Vasanth Kumar.
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam(AMMK) leader T T V Dinakarn has said his party will not contest the two by-elections as it is yet to get a symbol.
Like in April, it will be a direct fight between the AIADMK and the DMK-Congress combine. The AIADMK has the support of its allies like the Pattali Makkal Katchi.
The bypolls will not affect the continuance of the Edappadi K Palanisamy Government as it has won nine out of the 22 seats in the recently-held by-elections, taking the AIADMK’s strength to 122 in a House of 234, comfortably past the halfway mark. This despite the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls.
Yet, the AIADMK is not taking chances and it is expected to deploy all its Ministers in the two constituencies as any setback will be seen as an erosion of its popularity.
The DMK, after the last round of by-elections, increased its tally in the Assembly to 100. With the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League, the DMK front has a combine strength of 109, yet short of the half way mark of 113.
Stalin has to disprove the AIADMK contention that it still has the people’s mandate to rule on and the setback in Lok Sabha polls is because of the anti-Modi wave in Tamil Nadu.