Will Congress Dump DMK?
With barely a year to go for Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, the scene appears to be heating up with the possibility of new political alignments as the first indication came at the rally in Coimbatore where the AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa directed her attack only on DMK chief K Karunanidhi.
Blaming Karunanidhi and his family for the ‘ills’ including prices rise of essential commodities and petroleum products and levelling charges of corruption without mentioning Congress clearly wanting to send out the message that her lines of communication and ‘friendship’ with that party are open-ended.
Knowing fully well that if her party was to play a role in the centre, it has to cultivate the Congress in the prevailling political scenario at the national level. Having been an old hand in politics, Jayalalithaa surely knows how to play her political cards and signals are now being sent out to the Congress and thus keeping her options open.
With the two main political parties, Congress and BJP needing the support of either of the Dravidian party, surely both are also observing the developments in Tamil Nadu and how the two Dravidian parties are doing in the state.
Jayalalithaa asked party workers at a public meeting in Coimbatore, soon after the World Tamil Conference which Karunanidhi sought to showcase as his achievement, to oust the DMK government and leave the alliance part to her, which would be of their liking.
The speech lasting for over an hour saw her spit venom at her arch rival and apparently banking on the hope that this time her party would wrest power in Chennai as had indeed been the case most of the time in the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
According to political commentators the corruption issues like the Spectrum scandal involving DMK minister A Raja and the bickering among brothers Stalin and Azhagiri and the latter virtually giving a skip to Parliament over an issue like language could well be weighing in favour of a Congress-AIADMK tie up.
Though no clear indication has come from either of the parties but with Congress General Secretary and heir apparent to the prime ministerial office, Rahul Gandhi too having recently told party cadres at a meeting that either it would go alone or may scout around for an ally, surely new alignments cannot be ruled out.
`One of the factors that could help Jayalalithaa is her unquestioned leadership of the AIADMK while the leadership is an issue that could in the DMK lead to infighting though as long as Karunanidhi is at the helm, he would continue to be the party supremo.
Congress which is seeking to restore the days of its erstwhile leader and the last top Congess leader of the state, K Kamaraj, has selected 100 winnable seats and likely to demand 70 to 75 seats in the next elections.
So, it all depends on which alliance partner is ready to accept this or would the Congress have to go it alone in which event the BJP could also be well in the hunt for an alliance partner since both national parties know that even now alliance with one of the Dravidian parties is essential for capturing Tamil Nadu.
Though it is too early to speculate on the political alliances, there is talk in political circles that in the event of a Congress-AIADMK alliance, many top Congressmen may quit and form own group and join hands with DMK.
But, what has sparked off immense speculation is the recent outburst by former TNCC president and former union minister, EVKS Elangovan against DMK though ironically it was Elangovaan who was responsible for cobbling up the alliance with DMK some six years ago.
The Left parties, CPI and CPI(M), in the AIADMK front, would indeed be in an embarrassing situation as they would be left with no choice except to go it alone and thus spell a virtual political ‘harakiri’ or make an effort to form an alternative front to DMK and AIADMK, by roping in DMDK of Tamil actor, Vijayakanath, who is said to be close to some of the Congress leaders.
The left parties have already sounded that DMDK should be brought in AIADMK alliance, to oust the DMK government, while the stand of MDMK, led by Vaiko, is unpredictable, having alliances of political convenience.
Another party to be watched would be Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which had shifted loyalty between the major Dravidian parties during the last two elections. Though PMK, headed by Dr S Ramadoss, fought the last election in the AIADMK alliance, had warmed up to DMK a few months ago, for getting a Rajya Sabha seat to former union minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, son of Ramadoss.
Anbumani, son-in-law of former TNCC president, M Krishnasamy, had already sounded the bugle saying that PMK, which drew blank in the last Lok Sabha election, was raring to go to the hustings and no party can dream to capture power without its support in the State.
There are also reports of PMK keeping open the possibility of an alternate front if it is unable to have any political tie-ups. As for the BJP, it has yet to make a breakthrough in the state as was seen in the last elections when it went alone and drew a blank though party leadership appears to be in a denial mode in this regard though electoral politics has shown that it is indeed imperative for any national party to have an alliance with either of the Dravidian parties to win elections.
By Vidya Varadhraj from Chennai