The two-stage by-elections for 22 vacant assembly seats in Tamil Nadu is advantageous for the ruling AIADMK as the pie has grown bigger now for a safe bite, while it is going to be an acid test for DMK President M.K. Stalin, political analysts said.
They also said in the present situation, there is no threat for the stability of the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister Palaniswami.
There are 22 assembly seats currently vacant in Tamil Nadu. The Election Commission had earlier announced by-elections on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls for 18 seats.
On Tuesday, the poll body announced by-elections for four more seats on May 19.
“The two-stage by-election for the 22 vacant assembly seats is advantageous for the ruling AIADMK. In the second phase, all the ministers can spend time in the four assembly seats and see to it that AIADMK wins them all,” Raveendhran Dhuraiswamy told IANS.
According to him, holding the by-elections for four assembly constituencies on May 19 is also good for the T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led AMMK party.
According to analysts, AIADMK may not find it difficult to win eight seats out of 22 to continue comfortably in power.
In the 234 member Tamil Nadu assembly, the ruling AIADMK has 114 members (including the Speaker), DMK-88, Congress-8, and the IUML and Independents one each.
To attain a simple majority, the AIADMK has to win just four seats in the by-elections. Factoring in the switching of camps by some of the lawmakers, the AIADMK has to win seven or eight seats in order to be safe.
On the other hand, the DMK has to win all the 22 seats to take the tally, along with its allies -Congress and IUML – to 119, just one number more than the simple majority.
Analysts are of the view that even if Chinkara’s AMMK wins a couple of seats, the DMK’s dream of coming to power by toppling the AIADMK government may not come true.
“Even if DMK wins all the 22 seats, it still needs the support of Congress to capture power. Congress, then, will demand its pound of flesh like being part of the Ministry.
The Congress can even demand the post of Deputy Chief Minister. The DMK has not shared power with Congress earlier,” political strategist John Arokiasamy told IANS.
On the other hand, if Dhinakarana’s AMMK wins a couple of seats, then the equation changes in favour of ruling AIADMK, analysts said.
“It will be an acid test for Stalin’s leadership. Assuming Dhinakaran’s AMMK wins some seats, what action Stalin will take will have to be seen,” Dhuraiswamy said.
He said that Dhinakaran may not join hands with the DMK if he emerges as a leader in his own right by winning seats, and the state government would survive.
“If Dhinakaran partners with DMK then he would fail as a leader,” Dhuraiswamy added.
“Why would Dhinakaran partner with DMK now knowing well that the latter will be in power when the assembly elections are held next year?” Arokiasamy asked.
“The AIADMK can comfortably manage the elections and win the needed number of seats to remain in power. It has to be seen whether Dhinakaran would allow DMK to get into power, if AMMK wins good number of seats, say four or five,” writer and political Commentator Maalan Narayanan told IANS.
According to Narayanan, the AMMK leader may go for a compromise with AIADMK.
There is also a possibility of Dhinakaran remaining solo and building his base to face the next assembly polls.
“If the BJP wins power at the Centre and the political situation in Tamil Nadu turns fluid, then the former can suspend the assembly for sometime to stall the DMK,” Narayanan said.
Multiplexes to reopen with 50% seating from October 15
In its latest guidelines for further reopening, the Union Home Ministry has allowed certain activities such as functioning of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with 50% seating capacity from October 15.
However, cinema halls, theatres and multiplexes will have to strictly adhere to standard operating procedures (SOP) issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
Meanwhile, Business to Business exhibitions will also be permitted to open from October 15, for which SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
In what can be a breather for professional swimmers, swimming pools being used for training of sportspersons have been permitted to open from October 15. However, they must adhere to certain SOP to be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
In news that is certain to bring cheer to many, entertainment parks will also be permitted to open from October 15, said the MHA. These too will have to follow SOP which will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
However, the MHA has asserted that these activities will only be allowed in areas outside Containment Zones. “The new guidelines, issued today, are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments,” said the MHA in a statement.
Meanwhile, the lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in Containment Zones till October 31.
New unlock guidelines: States free to decide on schools reopening after October 15
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday left it to the states and union territories to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions after October 15 in a graded manner.
Earlier, schools were partially reopened from September 21 in compliance with Unlock 4 guidelines.
In fresh guidelines for further reopening of the country amid the pandemic, the MHA stated, “For re-opening of schools and coaching institutions, State and UT Governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15th October 2020, in a graded manner. The decision shall be taken in consultation with the respective school or institution management, based on their assessment of the situation.”
The ministry, however, clarified that online or distance learning will continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and should be encouraged. “Where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.”
The guidelines added, “Students may attend schools or institutions only with the written consent of parents. Attendance must not be enforced and must depend entirely on parental consent.”
States and UTs have been asked to prepare their own standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding health and safety precautions for reopening of schools and institutions based on the guidelines to be issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.
“Schools, which are allowed to open, will have to mandatorily follow the SOP to be issued by Education Departments of States and UTs. The Department of Higher Education (DHE), Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges and higher education institutions, in consultation with the MHA,” it added.
Higher Education Institutions, only for research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology streams that require laboratory or experimental work will be permitted to open from October 15.
“For centrally funded higher education institutions, the Head of Institution will satisfy herself or himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory or experimental works,a the fresh guidelines further added.
For all other Higher Education Institutions like State Universities, private universities etc., they may open only for research scholars and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory or experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State and UT Governments.
BJP appoints ex-Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis as in-charge for Bihar polls
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday formally appointed former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as its election ‘prabhari’ (in-charge) for the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls.
The death case of Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput, who hailed from Bihar, has snowballed into a major poll issue ahead of the Bihar elections, and Fadnavis has been championing the cause of the late actor, questioning the Mumbai Police’s handling of the matter.
The appointment, which comes into play with immediate effect, has been okayed by BJP’s national President J.P. Nadda, informed BJP leader Arun Singh.
Fadnavis has been participating in all the virtual meetings on Bihar polls from the very beginning, and also went to the state recently.
His appointment assumes significance given that fact that a driving narrative in this year’s Bihar polls has been about the ‘son of the soil’ allegedly being ‘wronged’ by the system in Maharashtra.
Fadnavis, a former Maharashtra Chief Minister, recently called Sushant Singh Rajput the son of Bihar and said that the people of India want justice for the late actor and the BJP would ensure that it is delivered.
The 243-member Bihar Assembly will go to the polls in three phases — on October 28, November 3 and 7 — and the results will be announced on November 10.
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