Just a few months ago the DMK was confident of delivering close to 39 seats for the I.N.D.I.A bloc. Such a haul would have represented the second biggest after the Congress. Now, months away from the Lok Sabha polls, DMK is not so sure. Its image has taken a deep hit after Cyclone Michaung dumped huge amounts of water on four districts around the capital Chennai and the monsoon pelted more places in the south. The 10 constituencies where the government seemed helpless in dealing with flooding may be a litmus test of the ruling party’s popularity. There was another major image hit in the Supreme Court rapping the TN government over handling of the Ram temple consecration, which a few temples wanted to share with their devotees by putting it on LED screens within their premises. Party insiders are squarely blaming the HR&CE minister Sekar Babu for misguiding the chief minister into trying to control the event through the police. They believe the event would have passed without much of an impact if the government had quietly allowed the devout to view the consecration. In his bid to please the master, the minister may have needlessly invited trouble and harsh words from the top court. Throw in the corruption drama around the first DMK minister being convicted and the overall image of the DMK is not what it may have been after three years in the saddle.