Less than a month since he led his party to a resounding victory in the Parliamentary polls, his first electoral contest after taking over the leadership mantle, DMK chief M K Stalin faces another electoral litmus test in the form of bypolls to both Nanguneri and Vikaravandi Assembly constituencies.
Though it snatched 13 seats from the ruling AIADMK in the Assembly bypolls held along with the general elections, the DMK faces a hard task to retain Nanguneri and Kanniyakumari, which has traditionally been its strongholds, for its alliance.
Amid reports of a few party MLAs skipping a meeting held last week, it is expected that the AIADMK leadership would be keen to wrest control of the two seats and increase its majority in the Assembly. Considering the support of the BJP-led Centre and the resources held by the AIADMK, the opposition has its task cut out. There are also reports of the AIADMK negotiating a deal with a renowned election strategist in north India to improve its fortunes.
As if all these were not enough, the DMK would also have some negotiating to do with ally Congress, which is already receiving requests aplenty from its functionaries to retain Nanguneri, a constituency where the national party has a significant voter support.
Unsurprisingly, the DMK has revealed its intentions through Murasoli Managing Director Udhayanidhi, who had publicly requested the Congress to forgo Nanguneri.
Stalin’s son had declared in the presence of former state Congress president Su Thirunavukkarasar and his Parliament colleague Jothimani (Karur) that Nanguneri would be an easy win if the DMK contested there.