Politics of Tamil Nadu

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Politics of Tamil Nadu is the politics related to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

History of Tamil Nadu politics[edit]

Formation of Tamil Nadu[edit]

Pre-Dravidian politics of Tamil Nadu[edit]

Indian National Congress dominated the political scene in the initial years post independence with leaders like C. Rajagopalachari and K. Kamaraj. The political influence shifted from national politics towards regional politics with rise of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the late 1960s.

Rise of Dravidian politics[edit]

Dravidian parties have dominated state politics since 1967. One of the earliest regional parties was the South Indian Welfare Association, which was founded in 1916. It came to be known as the Justice Party after the name of its English-language daily, Justice. E.V. Ramasami, popularly known as "Periyar", renamed the party Dravidar Kazhagam in 1944. DK was a non-political party which demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu. However, due to the differences between its two leaders Periyar and C.N. Annadurai, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The DMK decided to enter into politics in 1956.

The Anti-Hindi agitations in the mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and more powerful political force in the state. The DMK routed the Indian National Congress party in the 1967 elections and took control of the state government, ending Congress's stronghold in Tamil Nadu. C.N. Annadurai became the DMK's first Chief Minister, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi took over as Chief Minister and party leader after Annadurai's death in 1969.Karunanidhi's leadership was soon challenged by M.G. Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR. In 1972, he split from DMK and formed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). He was the Chief Minister of the state from 1977 until his death in 1987. After the death of MGR, the party split again into two factions, one led by Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR, and the other led by J. Jayalalithaa. After the defeat of AIADMK in 1989 assembly polls, both factions were merged and Jayalalithaa took control of the party. She was elected as the General Secretary of the unified AIADMK. There have been splits in both the DMK and the AIADMK, but since 1967 one of those two parties has held power in the state. In the State elections after M.G. Ramachandran's death, neither of the two parties could come back to power in consecutive assembly elections. Governments were formed by: DMK in 1989, AIADMK in 1991, DMK alliance in 1996, AIADMK alliance in 2001, DMK alliance in 2006 and AIADMK alliance consecutively in 2011 and 2016.

Political culture of Tamil Nadu[edit]

Politics in Tamil Nadu has had a strongly populist character since the rise of Dravidian politics in 1960s. In Tamil Nadu, DMK and AIADMK are alternately elected by people in Tamil Nadu and a strong third party does not exist. A dark side of Tamil Nadu politics is, that during the elections in Tamil Nadu the voters are bribed with money, colour television sets, laptops and household appliances.[1][2][3] This tactic is successfully used by the ruling ADMK and DMK to get an advantage over financially weaken opponents. Tamil Nadu has several caste parties who create Votebanks for rulling parties.[4] Many people from the Tamil film industry are active in Tamil Nadu politics. Some of the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu like MG Ramachandran, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa have their background in the Tamil film industry. The worship of party leader by members, is widely spread in Tamil Nadu, sometimes it reaches a fanatical level. This worship culture originates during the era of MGR.[5]

The youngsters were often a factor that change the dynamic of Tamil Nadu politics, what can be seen in Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu, 2013 Anti–Sri Lanka protests and 2017 pro-jallikattu protests.

Political parties of Tamil Nadu[edit]

Dravidian parties[edit]

Indian national parties[edit]

Tamil nationalist parties[edit]

Religion parties[edit]

Caste parties[edit]

Socialist parties[edit]

Youngster parties[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tamil Nadu, the ultimate freebie State". The Hindu. 
  2. ^ "Tamil Nadu polls: Welfare, freebies, prohibition". indianexpress.com. 
  3. ^ "The politics of freebies". asianage.com. 
  4. ^ "Why caste is as important to Tamil Nadu politics as Amma vs Karunanidhi". scroll.in. 
  5. ^ "MGR: The man who made cult worship the theme of Tamil Nadu politics". indianexpress.com. 
  6. ^ Surely, the Shiv Sena is going national, expanding its base in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.."‘The Shiv Sena is going national’". The Hindu.