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Tamil Nadu Election 2021: What TTV Dhinakaran-Owaisi tie-up means and how is Kamal Haasan positioned in this

As part of the deal with the AMMK, the AIMIM has been allotted three Tamil Nadu seats with a significant Muslim population — Vaniyambadi, Sankarapuram and Krishnagiri. TTV Dhinakaran has said the AMMK would try and contest as many seats as possible.

March 30, 2021 / 12:37 PM IST
Alliance of TTV Dhinakaran and Asaduddin Owaisi in Tamil Nadu polls 2021 creates flutter.

Alliance of TTV Dhinakaran and Asaduddin Owaisi in Tamil Nadu polls 2021 creates flutter.

In the Tamil Nadu assembly polls to be held in a single phase on April 6, despite the main battle between the DMK-Congress alliance and the AIADMK-BJP coalition, smaller parties and alliances are set to make the election more interesting. Tamil Nadu will begin counting votes on May 2.

TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) which has entered into an electoral pact for the Assembly polls with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Asaduddin Owaisi and Kamal Hassan’s decision to contest election from Coimbatore South against both BJP and Congress have sprung up a surprise for voters.

Here’s what to make of the unusual alliance of Dhinakaran and Owaisi and how Kamal Haasan is positioned in all of this.

Vote cutting strategy

As part of the deal with the AMMK, the AIMIM has been allotted three Tamil Nadu seats with a significant Muslim population — Vaniyambadi, Sankarapuram and Krishnagiri. Dhinakaran has said the AMMK would try and contest as many seats as possible.

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Despite AIMIM’s limited presence in the state, the party may make a mark in Vaniyambadi, since it had secured nearly 10,000 votes in the 2016 Assembly polls. Any votes Owaisi attracts are likely to hurt the DMK, a potential beneficiary of consolidated Muslim minority votes in this election due to the poll pact between the AIADMK and BJP.

But why this alliance in the first place? It’s interesting to note that at the time, Dhinakaran, anyway, couldn’t have struck an alliance with any major Tamil party as it is too late in the game. All potential allies of Dhinakaran or those who had long camaraderie with the Sasikala family joined other alliances days before his decision.

Even though their decision to club looks like an obvious compromise for both Dhinakaran and Owaisi, the alliance may impact the bipolar Tamil Nadu Assembly election this year.

The message is clear; they are out to damage the prospects of other parties by polling a few thousand votes wherever possible.

Dhinakaran may be aiming to take 'revenge' on the AIADMK for expelling him from the party that his aunt ran as Jayalalithaa's close aide for years. In this election, Dhinakaran is hoping that his association with Owaisi may hit the DMK-led alliance adversely and thus help the AIADMK-BJP alliance.

Muslim vote

These groups give the DMK-led alliance some kind of assurance of support from the Muslim voters in the Tamil Nadu election. The DMK has traditionally got votes from the community as most of these parties have campaigned against the AIADMK in the past, and been very critical of the ruling party over its alliance with the BJP.

Owaisi's alliance with Dhinakaran has the potential of creating division among the pro-DMK Muslim votes. His strong campaign for the uplift of the Muslim community has been received well in Tamil Nadu even though his party does not have a solid electoral base.

The AIADMK could be better placed strategically knowing that a section of Muslim voters would automatically be aligned against it over its alliance with the BJP, and that the Dhinakaran factor has failed to split its vote bank in a significant way.

Kamal Hassan factor

Three years after floating Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM), Kamal Hassan is contesting his first election in Tamil Nadu polls.

Despite expectations of him contesting the elections from Chennai, Hassan picked Coimbatore this time. However, his decision doesn’t come as a surprise if you consider this: of 37 seats that the MNM contested in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it secured maximum votes in Coimbatore.

But what’s interesting to note is that the south superstar turned politician will be up against two major rival parties; the BJP and the Congress. The BJP has fielded Vanathi Srinivasan, the party’s Mahila Morcha president and practising lawyer, who joined the party after being trained in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students' wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

On the other hand, Congress has fielded Mayura Jayakumar who was the runner-up in 2016 Tamil Nadu election, when the AIADMK won this seat for the second consecutive term.

Hassan’s popularity among a section of urban voters, including those upper caste voters who love Kamal in spite of his non-religious Brahmin identity, could earn MNM a fair share of votes in this election.

Check Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the 2021 assembly election here
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