Three contestants vying for the Chief Minister’s post……
By Siva Sivapragasam
The coming Tamil Nadu elections next month will see a three cornered fight between incumbent Chief Minister Jayalalitha, DMK leader and former Chief Minister Karunanithi plus cinematic idol Vijayakanth – all three vying for the Chief Minister’s post.
Since 1967, either of the two Dravidian parties has been ruling the state. The fringe parties used to wait at the doorstep of the AIADMK and the DMK to get seats. Now, a new front under Vijayakanth is shaping up and projecting itself as an alternative to both. Nicknamed”Karuppu (Black) MGR” or Captain after his movie “Captain Prabhakaran”, Vijayakanth has acted in over 150 Tamil movies.
The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election will be held on 16 May 2016 for the 234 seats of the Legislative Assembly. In the previous election in 2011, the AIADMK, under the leadership of Jayalalithaa, won a majority and formed the government.
Taking into account the present political scene in the state, the AIADMK doesn’t have any strong allies and it holds on the charisma of party supremo Jayalalithaa alone to win the forthcoming elections. She is no doubt a strong candidate in spite of several allegations of corruption and nepotism. She has recently stepped up her image by opening several “Amma” restaurant outlets retailing food at lower prices. In addition, there are “Amma” theaters for movie goers offering cheap tickets. But it is rumoured that her health condition is preventing her from participating in vigorous open election campaigns. Also, there appears to be some splits within the party.
Movie stars have always dominated the Tamil Nadu election scenario during the recent past. With five chief ministers in the last five decades from the movie world, the way to the political power in Tamil Nadu is through building up star power.
Five of the state’s chief ministers – C.N. Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalitha – had their roots in films, while several other actors showed an interest in politics.
In the next month’s assembly elections, there will be three chief ministerial candidates — incumbent J. Jayalalithaa of the AIADMK, DMK president M. Karunanidhi and DMDK founder A. Vijayakanth — all with a background of Tamil film industry.