RK Nagar bypoll a litmus test for AIADMK

The bypoll was earlier cancelled due to large scale distribution of cash and gifts by some candidates

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | December 7, 2017 | Chennai


#RK Nagar bypoll   #AIADMK   #Tamil Nadu   #Chennai   #Jayalithaa   #election commission  


 The bypoll for RK Nagar assembly constituency, which fell vacant following the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, is going to be a litmus test for the ruling AIADMK, feel political experts.

The constituency, a Chennai suburb, votes on December 21. The election commission had cancelled the bypoll that was earlier scheduled for April 12, just 48 hours before the polling, because of large scale distribution of cash and gifts by some of the candidates. 
 
Normally, bypolls in Tamil Nadu have been won by the ruling party. But this might turn out to be the first bypoll where the ruling party may lose.
Political commentator K A Johny says, “From 2004 onwards the ruling party in the state has not lost even a single bypoll. However, this bypoll might be different because the victory of AIADMK candidate is not guaranteed. It is going to be a real litmus test for the AIADMK.”
 
AIADMK is the biggest party in terms of members in Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and is the third largest party in the parliament. The party that had been nurtured by MG Ramachandran (MGR) and Jayalalithaa is now on the verge of collapse, adds Johny.   
 
Tamil Nadu paid tribute to Amma on Tuesday to mark her first death anniversary. But the AIADMK, which she revived after her mentor MGR’s death, is in a state of disorder.
 
Johny says, “Jayalalithaa herself is responsible for this situation. When she was alive she didn’t allow emergence of second rung leadership.”
 Jayalalithaa herself had been the victim of lack of inner party democracy in the AIADMK. When MGR passed away, there was a crisis in the party and the AIADMK had split into two. It happened because MGR didn’t anoint anyone as the successor.
 
Though Jayalalithaa was a self-made leader, she climbed the ladder of success on her own. Even MGR didn’t publicly anoint her as his successor. She had to capture power within the party after the death of MGR. 
 
Jayalalithaa too didn’t develop a second line of leadership in the party and now in her absence, the AIADMK finds itself rudderless. There is no single leader who could hold the party together. It is only a matter of time when the party withers away, thinks another analyst.
 
 Political observer A Marx says that the AIADMK was never a well-organised party even during MGR days. The party was always personality cult driven. The partymen always worshipped their leader. However, Marx adds, “I think the party would survive, though it may not come back to power in the next assembly election.”
 
 What’s more, even brand Amma which Jayalalithaa established-- the most popular amongst all the Amma canteens—seem to be impacted after Jayalalithaa’s death. As funds with the state government dry up, the plethora of welfare schemes started by Jayalalithaa is affected, adds Johny.  
 
After her resounding victory in 2011 assembly election, Jayalalithaa’s Amma brand came into being. There is a mind boggling list of Amma product which includes drinking water bottles, cement, baby kits, pharmacies, salt and so on. But with Amma’s death, these welfare schemes too seem to be falling apart.
 

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