Target 2026: Will Tamil Nadu witness 'Udhayanidhi vs Vijay' race in the assembly polls?

The MK Stalin reign in Tamil Nadu is halfway through its five year term and with weak anti-incumbency wave and no potent faces in the opposition, the DMK rule has no imminent threats and with its grand alliance, the party is also hoping to have stupendous triumph in the upcoming general election, which is three months away. For DMK, the current trend of strength could possibly face a risk two years later, during the 2026 assembly polls. 

As MK Stalin's son and minister Udhayanidhi Stalin is now leading the party operations, it appears to be political exercise for him to takeover the party's leadership baton after his father. Udhayanidhi is currently the secretary of DMK's youth wing and he has been advocating to bring more young and new faces to the party roles and in the recently-held youth wing summit, Udhayanidhi apparently asked the party to allot more Lok Sabha seats to youngsters. 

The political scenes in DMK are standing evidence that Udhayanidhi Stalin will be a star campaigner and strong force for the party during 2026 assembly polls. When Udhayanidhi hits the campaign trail in 2026, he would meet his new political rival - actor Vijay. On Friday - February 02, Tamil Nadu's political arena has welcomed actor Vijay to what would become an uphill battle. 

On Friday - Vijay, amidst sharp speculations about his political entry, has announced his political party's name as 'Tamilaga Vetri Kazhagam'. Taking to social media, he released a statement about his party's roadmap and electoral target. Vijay has launched his party three months ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha palls but he has targeted the 2026 assembly polls. 

Interestingly, the 2026 assembly polls will be when Udhayanidhi Stalin's political leadership and performance as a minister would go for a litmus test and when he comes face to face with Vijay, there will possibly be a new political war in Tamil Nadu. By launching a political party, Vijay announced that he would not support any political parties and would contest the assembly polls independently. 

By citing that politics is not a hobby for him, Vijay, in his official statement, said, "I want to devote myself fully to it. The party has applied for registration with the Election Commission. I have already agreed to complete a film without disturbing the party work and fully engage in politics for the service of the people. I consider this as my debt of gratitude to the people of Tamil Nadu." 

Stating that he won't support any political party, he further said, "Our goal is to contest and win the upcoming 2026 assembly election and lead to the fundamental political change that the people want." "Politics is not just another career for me. It is a sacred people's work to know not only the height of politics but also its essence. I have been preparing myself for it for a long time by reading lessons from many of our predecessors, and mentally maturing myself. So, politics is not new for me. It is my deepest desire to fully involve myself in it", he added. 

The political timing of Vijay's entry and Udhaynidhi's surge in the party and in the governance marks interesting and intriguing fight in the years ahead and would also write the next chapter in the Tamil Nadu politics. Both of them command a strong wave of support from youngsters and also has a good rapport personally. When their fight gets confirmed in the 2026 assembly polls, the political observers say it would also mark a historical fight. 

On the other hand, there are several claims on social media that Vijay's politics would act as a B team for the DMK, splitting the votes and favouring the DMK in the 2026 polls. As we have to wait and watch how this trend of 'Vijay vs Udhayanidhi' is going to unfold, political leaders react to Vijay's political entry with several parties welcoming him. 

Responding to Vijay's political entry, Udhayanidhi Stalin said, "In India's democracy, everyone has a right to start a political party. Actor Vijay has taken this decision now. My greetings to him."  Speaking to ANI about Vijay's political entry, DMK's Spokesperson TKS Elangovan said, "Everybody has a right (to start their party) we cannot stop anybody from starting their own political party. The constitution permits that, so we cannot say anything. The only thing is why he is starting a political party and what he is going to fight for, is a question. If he comes out about his policies and ideologies then we can accept it but as far as DMK is concerned we have an ideology we have worked for. We have been with this ideology since the start and we have done a lot of things as per it. We have made people get good education and good employment."