The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) led by rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran tops the list of Crorepatis contesting the 22 by-elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly, with 19 out of 22 candidates, making a total of 86.36 per cent.
Surprisingly, the ruling AIADMK and the main opposition party, the DMK, both of which fielded Crorepatis in all the 39 Lok Sabha elections in the State on April 18, have restricted themselves to 16 and 17 Crorepati candidates respectively in the 22 bypolls, according to a report released by the Movement for Election Reforms (MER). The report was released by MER Convenor R. Rangaraj.
If the top three parties in the State by-polls are taken into account, it is clear that at least two-third of the winners in the 22 bypolls will be Crorepatis. The strength of Crorepatis in the TN Assembly is likely to go up by 16 to 17.
72.72 per cent of the AIADMK candidates are Crorepatis while in the case of the DMK the percentage is higher at 77.27 per cent. Even the Makkal Needhi Maiam led by actor Kamal Haasan has 40 per cent of its candidates as Crorepatis (8 out of 20), while the fifth leading party, the Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) has not put up any Crorepati candidate in the 22 by-elections, the MER report points out.
While these five leading parties including their alliances had nearly three-fourths of their Lok sabha poll candidates as Crorepatis, the percentage of Crorepati candidates among the Big 5 parties in the Assembly by-elections has dropped to 55.55 per cent.
The ruling AIADMK list of Crorepatis comes third after the AMMK and the DMK.
AMMK 19 DMK 17 AIADMK 16 MNM 8 NTK Nil. 60 Out of 108 (55.55 %):
AMMK 19/22 = 86.36 %
DMK 17/22 = 77.27 %
AIADMK 16/22 = 72.72 %.
MNM 8/20 = 40.00 %.
In the list of 48 candidates who are not Crorepatis in the Assembly by-elections, the AIADMK has 6, DMK 5, AMMK 3, MNM 12, and NTK 22. They represent 44.44 per cent of the total candidates among the top 5 parties.
48 out of 108. (44.44 %) candidates are not crorepatis. (The MNM did not contest the Harur and Manamadurai by-elections on April 18).
AIADMK 6 DMK 5 AMMK 3 MNM 12 NTK 22
AIADMK 6/22 = 27.27 %
DMK 5/22 = 22.72 %
AMMK 3/22 = 13.63 %
MNM 12/20 = 60.00 %
NTK 22/22 = 100 %.
Two reasons could be behind the higher number of Crorepatis among AIADMK and DMK candidates for the Lok Sabha elections as compared to the Assembly by-polls. A Lok Sabha candidate has to take care of six Assembly segments, and therefore it is presumed that he/she should have deep pockets to maintain the flow of expenses for more than a month. On the other hand, an Assembly constituency is much smaller in area (roughly one-sixth) and therefore more manageable. Secondly, with high stakes involved in the Assembly bypolls, the main parties would be doing all the running, carrying the burden of expenditure, and marshalling of muscle and money power.
The calculation of candidates’ assets includes movable and immovable assets of candidate, spouse and dependants, as declared in their sworn affidavits filed along with their nomination papers to the Election Commission.
One reason why the AMMK has put a large number of Crorepati candidates in the Assembly by-elections is perhaps because it has concentrated more on the Assembly by-elections than the Lok Sabha polls.