The alliance, which was fructified after two months of uncertainty, is the second unusual alliance for Jayalalithaa. The first time was in 1998 when, after the 1996 corruption charges and going into political hibernation, she had clinched a deal with the BJP. That alliance went on to win the Lok Sabha election and performed very well in Tamil Nadu.
This time too, following the 2G scam and the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu on the defensive, the AIADMK now has a formidable side and a united Opposition — AIADMK, DMDK, MDMK, CPI, CPI(M) and a host of minor parties, including the Dalit party Puthiya Tamizhagam.
Vijayakanth has, in the five years of DMDK’s existence, always claimed that the party’s alliance is “only with God and people”. But he has now sought an alliance on the ground that DMK Government had to be ousted. “We want to oust the DMK regime in Tamil Nadu. Therefore, we are with the AIADMK,” is what the DMDK presidium chairman and former AIADMK Minister Panruti S Ramachandran told the media after meeting the AIADMK election panel on Thursday. He also said that this was the aspiration of Vijayakanth, who wanted the entire Opposition to unite. A formal announcement is expected on Sunday by Jayalalithaa.
The ‘oust DMK’ sentiment is the common platform for the Opposition to fight the DMK-Congress combine. The DMK has showered the State with freebies and populist schemes and this would definitely need a formidable team to counter.
The DMDK has fortified a vote bank of over 10 per cent, with its concentration in the southern districts. This could be used by the AIADMK to counter the strong presence of Union Chemicals & Fertilisers Minister MK Alagiri’s influence. Similarly, Vijayakanth’s influence could come handy in tackling the PMK.
DMDK’s strength lay in the fact that it drew voters who were averse to both DMK and AIADMK. With people’s disillusion with the key Dravidian parties, DMDK’s support base had grown. The DMK had allegedly influenced the DMDK into going it alone as it succeeded in splitting the anti-DMK votes. Formation of a third front, as was speculated once, would have split the anti-DMK votes, benefiting the DMK in the long run. But now, with DMDK’s decision to go with the AIADMK, the anti-DMK votes would get channelised to the Opposition rather than getting split.
The DMDK’s alliance with the AIADMK had been a matter of speculation for nearly two months.
However, negotiations over seat-sharing and Vijayakanth’s alliance indecision delayed the whole process. His wife Premalatha, who is a key figure during elections, is said to have influenced the actor in opting for the alliance. Even then, there were differences between AIADMK and DMDK on sharing seats.
Initially, PMK was in the picture and Jayalalithaa, according to sources, had given that reason to allocate 41 seats to the DMDK. Vijayakanth was scheduled to meet Jayalalithaa. But on February 18, when the DMK quickly made the pact with PMK (giving it 31 seats), Vijayakanth cancelled his appointment and demanded 50 seats -- part of the seats supposed to have been allocated to PMK. Jayalalithaa, who had wanted to complete all such pacts by February 21, found the whole process delayed.
According to sources, given the Opposition criteria to defeat the ruling DMK, a compromise is expected. Grapevine has it that the compromised number could be 45. If it is true, DMDK is certainly beginning its alliance innings with a bang.