Alliance vs Alliance
   18-Mar-2019
While a motley crowd of political alliances have muddled the waters in Tamil Nadu, BJP and AIADMK poll pact may storm the Dravidian bastion, finally
TS Venkatesan
 
As the Election Commission announced the poll schedule, major political parties in Tamil Nadu are preparing for the Lok Sabha elections by forging alliance with their allies. Though AIADMK-BJP had made a headstart in the process, it hit a few stumbling blocks due to a few hitches created by the DMDK and some smaller parties. Whereas Dravida Munnetra Khazhagam (DMK) had completed the process by 5th March, giving away 20 seats to its alliance partner, the Congress, leaving 20 for itself.
 
 
Union minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal announce their mega alliance in Tamil Nadu along with AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam 
 
The BJP and AIADMK had completed poll alliance well ahead of others. Smaller PMK with a significant base of Vanniyar community was roped in to the alliance. Talks with DMDK’s Vijayakant, the actor-turned politician was still on at the time of this writing. DMDK had been holding talking with both DMK and AIADMK. Union Minister Piyush Goel, who made a courtesy call on Vijayakant, who had just returned to India after a long treatment abroad. DMDK is demanding the same number seats allotted to PMK. Both DMK and AIADMK offered lesser number of seats, saying things are different this time, as Vijayakant cannot do active campaigning and that there is an erosion of his cadre base.

 
DMK President MK Stalin announce the DMK led alliance along with Congress leader Mukul Wasnik, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Alagiri and others 
 
Perturbed at the alliance of AIADMK-BJP-PMK, MK Stalin-led DMK started mocking it by calling it an “unholy, non-secular and opportunistic.” They made allegations against AIADMK and PMK’s Ramadoss and his son Anbumani Ramadoss in the past. This did not go down well with cadres of both parties. AIADMK retaliated by showing what the late DMK chief Karunanidhi had said about Congress, its leaders in the past. So the game of mud-slinging is going on.
 
 
 
On 5th March, DMK announced that it would contest 20 seats in Tamil Nadu for the Lok Sabha elections which virtually shut the door on Captain Vijayakanth, which is yet to form an alliance though the ruling AIADMK is not averse to it.
  • While the ruling AIADMK, surviving with a laser thin majority, is keen on retaining power in TN for the rest of its term, the opposition DMK is sensing an opportunity for a comeback in the state after nearly eight years 
  • Salivating at the prospect of staging a comeback to power inview of the power vaccum left behind by the demise of amma, the DMK is alarmed at the mega alliance forged by AIADMK-BJP-PMK, MK Stalin-led DMK started mocking it by calling it unholy
 
 
DMK president M K Stalin said his party has completed the seat-sharing agreements with all of its allies and that the process of identifying the constituencies to allot to them would start from 7th March. After allocating seats to its allies, including the Congress, the "DMK will now contest from 20 seats" in the state, Stalin said. The DMK will lead a rainbow coalition comprising of the Congress, CPI(M), CPI, MDMK, VCK, IUML, KMDK and IJK. Of these, IJK had joined the DMK-led alliance after leaving the NDA.
 
The Congress has been allotted the lion's share of seats among the DMK's allies, with nine seats in TN plus the lone Puducherry segment. The two Left parties, Thirumavalavan's the VCK, have been given two seats each. The DMK has allotted one seat each to the Vaiko led MDMK, IJK, IUML and the KMDK. DMK has also allotted the MDMK one Rajya Sabha seat, the election for which is scheduled for June.
 
The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the BJP formalized their “mega alliance” for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections on 19th February. BJP will be contesting from 5 seats in the state while the PMK will be contesting from 7. The BJP, PMK and the AIADMK will also contest in the by-elections in 21 constituencies in Tamil Nadu.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led a mega rally of the NDA in Tamil Nadu on 6th March, the first after the ruling AIADMK clinched an alliance with the BJP and the PMK. Moreover, AIADMK has given one seat each to Puthiya Thamizhagam and A C Shanmugham’s New Justice Party, thereby apportioning 14 out of 39 seats to allies.
 
The public meeting served as a platform for Modi and other leaders of NDA's constituents to launch the coalition's poll campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leaders Dr S Ramadoss and his son Anbumani and other alliance partners participated in the meeting at Kelambakkam, near suburban Vandalur, in their first major political engagement as National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituents. DMDK, which was expected to ink the deal could not make it and skipped the function despite Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and others called on the ailing Vijayakant and held several rounds of talks with his party functionaries. It seems DMDK wants to buy time to increase its bargaining power, as it has also been approached by DMK, TTV Dinakaran’s fledgling party
besides AIADMK.
 
The AIADMK has finalised alliance pacts with the BJP, PMK, Dr. Krishnawamy’s Puthiya Tamizhagam, and the AC Shanmugam’s Puthiya Neethi Katchi (New Justice Party), while being positive about a prospective poll-pact with the DMDK. AIADMK and the DMK are set to contest in just 50% of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. It is a bonanza for the allies on both sides since 1998.
 
The reason seems to be that the 21 assembly segments that are likely to face bye-polls along with the Lok Sabha elections. While the ruling AIADMK, surviving with a laser thin majority, is keen on retaining power in TN for the rest of its term, the opposition DMK is sensing an opportunity for a comeback in the state after nearly eight years.
Explaining the reason for giving a bigger largesse to fringe parties, an AIADMK functionary said, “We needed a formidable alliance to have a go at 21 assembly constituencies, to retain power in the state, especially DMK too is keen to grab them.”
 
“For both Dravidian majors, their aim is the Fort St George, the seat of power, and not New Delhi. They are willing to contest even less to accommodate more parties to defeat the opponents” says senior journalist Sridharan.
On social Media it is a free-for-all on poll alliances. A twitter user, Viswanathan Krishnamurthy writes, “About 40 years ago Congress was defeated by DMK. After that Congress has been losing every election in Tamil Nadu. Slowly, it ensnared DMK under extraordinary political circumstances. It is still trying to stage a comeback in Tamil Nadu.”
 
Another twitter post by a certain MS said, “pity and weird... MDMK was started as an anti-DMK party.... both parties were responsible for the LTTE terror in Tamil Nadu and responsible for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi. Both parties finally let down LTTE and allowed Sri Lanka to kill all Tamils here. Tamil Nadu should decide these opportunists and dangerous criminals. MDMK and DMK are both anti-Hindu too.... “
 
Sundara S wrote, “Vaiko did a good thing by supporting DMK and Congress because both are responsible for Prabhakaran's death. A big joke to Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Rajapakse is better than Vaiko now. At least he does not change colour every now and then.”