The Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections of 2021 are not only going to be contested between DMK and AIADMK but also between Prashant Kishor and Sunil Kanugolu. Just like AIADMK was formed after a split in DMK, Kanugolu, a former consultant with Mckinsey, was earlier a part of Prashant Kishor’s team when the latter was working for PM Modi’s campaign for the 2014 general elections. Now they are against each other for the upcoming state assembly elections.
After the 2014 general elections, in 2016, Kangolu headed the DMK’s state assembly election campaign. Although the party lost in the 2016 assembly election by a thin margin, his efforts and strategies were appreciated.
In 2016, Kanugolu joined BJP’s Association of Billion Minds (ABM) as head and led the camping strategy in states like UP, Uttarakhand, and many other states where BJP emerged as the winner or the single largest party.
Later Kanugolu joined DMK as head of the campaign strategy for the 2019 general elections and played a crucial role in the revival of M K Stalin’s image as the leader of the party and inheritor of Karunanidhi’s legacy. Later he got disenchanted with the party and resigned in November 2019, and joined DMK’s arch-rival AIADMK in June last year.
Now Kanugolu is looking after the campaign of AIADMK as well as advising Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on key policy issues. Moreover, the party is being restructured. “There is activity in party restructuring now, starting from gram panchayat level. A new IT wing has been formed. Many changes at the district level are expected soon. The party is moving into election mode,” said a senior party leader.
The 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections will be between DMK and AIADMK as well as Prashant Kishor and Kanugolu. AIADMK, which looked very week a few after the 2019 general election, is being revived, especially after BJP ensured that it will go in alliance with the party and threw its weight behind Kanugolu.
Previously, in the Union budget, the Modi government announced 500 km of National Highway works in Tamil Nadu at an investment of 1.03 lakh crores. These include the Madurai-Kollam corridor and Chittoor-Thatchur corridor. Construction will start next year. Moreover, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated many infrastructure projects in the state a few days ago.
Amit Shah is trying to make a formidable Mahagathbandhan in Tamil Nadu consisting of AIADMK, BJP, Rajinikanth, and Alagiri which will make things even trickier for the DMK which is left with only the INC, which over the years has ended up hurting its alliance partners and acted as a parasite with case in point being the 2016 West Bengal elections and Bihar elections concluded in 2020. While the DMK can look for support from Kamal Haasan, it is unlikely to change its fortunes as currently, it seems like the NDA will sweep Tamil Nadu in the assembly polls.
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