New Delhi/Chennai: Electioneering has gained momentum across India and Tamil Nadu is no exception. For this southern state and the political parties active here, there will likely be a “twin battle”. For it is not only Parliamentary elections that will be held this time, by-polls for 18 Assembly constituencies are also going to be conducted.

So for political parties here, they have got to focus on winning the Parliamentary elections and also gaining an upper hand in the Assembly polls. Winning in Parliamentary elections may give them a stake in forming the government at the Centre, and victory in the by-elections will determine who is likely to stay in power in Tamil Nadu.

Should AIADMK fail to win major seats, it could lose power in the state. According to experts, the ruling party is supposed to win at least 11 seats to stay in power.

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The by-polls are being held for 18 seats as the MLAs of these constituencies were disqualified when they voiced their support for rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran in the past.

There are 39 Parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu, the party winning major number of seats here will be the one likely to have a power to decide who could form the government at the Centre.

As it happened in the past during the tenure of the UPA government at the Centre, MPs from Tamil Nadu saved the day for them by providing the required support. Similar situation happened when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

MPs from Tamil Nadu saved the day for his government when a crucial ally moved out. Also, the support from the MPs coming from the state could help the government at the Centre in passing various bills. The present government at the Centre, NDA is said to have passed certain bills in the Parliament with the support obtained from Tamil Nadu MPs.

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Senior journalist and political analyst from Chennai, Ramanathan Krishnan feels it all depends on the number of seats won by major parties, the BJP and Congress at the Centre. In case of no parties winning an absolute numbers at the Centre, MPs coming from a state like Tamil Nadu could play a vital role when it comes to the point of who is to form the government at the Centre.

DMK president MK Stalin

Three groups of parties are contesting the polls in the forthcoming general election in this southern state.

One comprises the ruling AIADMK that is allied with the BJP, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMDK), Puthiya Tamilagam (PT), Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) and Puthiya Needhi Katchi.

The second group comprises the another major party of Tamil Nadu, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) that has tied up with the Indian National Congress (INC), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kongunadu Makkal Desia Katchi, Indian Union Muslim League, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.

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The third group has the major player Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam whose alliance partners are Social Democratic Party of India, Makkal Needhi Maiam, Republican Party of India and Naam Thamizhar Katchi.

While the AIADMK and its group has become a part of the NDA, DMK and its group are a part of the UPA.

Krishnan feels the demise of former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa (AIADMK) and M Karunanidhi (DMK) left a political vacuum in Tamil Nadu. They had a magnanimous image, no one could rise to the occasion to fill the gap left by them post their demise. Post the death of popular leaders, many have come forward to prove their mettle on the political arena of the state. Cine actor Kamal Hassan is an apt example in this regard. His party Makkal Needhi Maiam is contesting 37 seats.

They was a huge support to their parties, their charisma did most of the work and ensured victories on many occasions. While there are a lot of parties in the poll fray this time, the contest is seen happening between the two major parties of the state, the AIADMK and DMK. These two have always had a lion’s share in the state since the days of their inception.

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The support base for the AIADMK and DMK is vast, it is not the case with other parties in Tamil Nadu. No significant presence of the national parties (the Congress and BJP) has only added to the strength of the two major parties of Tamil Nadu, says Krishnan.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami

The trust the AIADMK and DMK have among the people of Tamil Nadu is much greater when it comes to handling the state administration. No wonder, the major share of the votes should go to them this time too. Other parties may be getting a minor stake.

The two major parties of this southern state will be contesting the polls in the absence of their super charismatic leaders. The absence of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi may be a setback for both the AIADMK and DMK. Where in the past the magic exerted by the charismatic appeal of these giant leaders got votes, this time both parties may not have that advantage.

Prospects seem better for the DMK this time as they have a strong leader in the form of MK Stalin. An able administrator and a leader of masses are seen in him. Needless to say, that is the advantage AIADMK does not have.

The leadership in the form of Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS), the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and deputy chief minister O Pannerselvam (OPS) does not stay in high esteem among the public. Their lack of charisma is another issue. The clash between EPS and OPS has made news in the past, though they have united later on and formed the government. However, the people are skeptical about as to how long they could stay united. This has cast a doubt on their ability to stay in power and handle administration.

Measures like demonetisation, farming related issues, no employment generation have generated enough discontent on the NDA in Tamil Nadu, with the AIADMK being a part of the NDA, the discontent with regards to these issues may pass on to AIADMK and their allies. These issues may better chances of the DMK and its allies in winning higher number of votes. However, the problems of the past like 2G scam in particular, the lack of leadership in their ally (Congress) can turn into a disadvantage for the DMK.