Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK on January 19 announced the formation of three teams for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The three teams are given different responsibilities with one team to coordinate and oversee the entire election operations, while the second will be in charge of seat-sharing and coordination with allies, and the third will prepare the election manifesto. With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls a few months away, the DMK is trying to evoke Dravidian ideology and driving the theory that Tamil Nadu’s public welfare schemes are driven by the government’s Dravidian roots. The DMK is planning to fight the Lok Sabha polls on the basis of the progress report of its government, including the welfare schemes, improved law and order situation and the huge investments that the state is attracting.
Dravidian culture is deeply rooted in the Tamil psyche. But the DMK and its allies will be banking on the work done by the Stalin Government and the various welfare measures it has undertaken in its two-and-half-years of rule. The Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam scheme which literally means ‘bringing health to your doorstep’ is a flagship programme of the DMK Government wherein, medical professionals go from house to house conducting medical check-ups. If they find any ailment, the patient is referred to the nearby Primary Health Centre. This scheme is a huge hit among the people and more than half the population of Tamil Nadu has benefited from this.
The free bus rides for women in state-run transport buses have been a boon for women from the economically weaker strata of society. Women who do multiple jobs have benefitted from the scheme and the free bus trips help them save good money. This is of advantage to the DMK in the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The DMK Government has announced Rs 1,000 for women under the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam (Kalaignar Women’s Rights Grant Scheme) and all women and transgenders above the age of 21 years are eligible for the scheme if their annual family income is not over Rs 2.5 lakh.
The INDIA bloc in Tamil Nadu is much stronger compared to other states and the DMK has always managed its coalition partners well by sharing the seats in a proper manner. These factors, according to the DMK will stand the front in good stead in the general elections in Tamil Nadu. The BJP, which is desperately trying to break the hegemony of the Dravidian political parties in Tamil Nadu, is evoking Tamil cultural identities and icons to make a place for itself in the social realm of the state. The BJP, with a meager 3.66 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is expecting too much from Tamil Nadu. The possibilities of the saffron party making any major impact in the ensuing polls are remote.