In bad tidings giving a severe jolt for Congress in the South and North,a key UPA constituent,PMK,decided on Thursday to switch sides to align with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu,dumping the DMK-led front that had swept the last Lok Sabha polls.
In a parallel development bringing heavy pressure on Congress, UPA constituents RJD and LJP and Samajwadi Party announced on a “secular alliance” to unitedly contest 120 seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,where the Congress has no allies.
The PMK,which has been promised seven Lok Sabha seats,one more than it has now now,and a Rajya Sabha nomination by the AIADMK, took the decision after members of its General Council overwhelmingly voted for changing sides in a “referendum”.
The decision came on a day when actor-turned politician Vijayakanth,whose DMDK notched an impressive seven per cent votes in the 2006 Assembly elections,also announced his decision to go it alone,brushing aside Congress-DMK’s efforts to woo it.
In the last Lok Sabha polls,the formidable DMK-led DPA front consisting of Congress,PMK,MDMK,CPI and CPI(M) registered a sweeping victory claiming all the 40 seats including one in Puducherry blanking out the AIADMK-BJP combine. The DMK-led front got over 50 per cent votes against the AIADMK-BJP combine’s 35 per cent.
MDMK,CPI and CPI(M) have already broken with DMK and tied up with AIADMK for the coming elections. PMK is the latest entrant into the AIADMK front.
A couple of weeks ago,AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha had sent overtures to Congress to dump the DMK and finding no response she later said she had invited Congress.
The PMK,whose vote base mainly spread among the backward Vanniya community,has a strong presence in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu.
PMK’s nominees in the Union Cabinet Ministers Anbumani Ramadoss (Health) and R Velu (MoS Railways) are slated to resign from the UPA government at the Centre shortly.
Both Congress and DMK have sought to make light of the PMK decision saying they knew it was coming. PMK had a presence only in some pockets of the state and alliance arithmetic always does not work,the spokespersons of the two parties said in their reaction.
In significant developments that could affect the Congress’ chances,key allies Lalu Prasad’s RJD,Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party have decided to form a “secular alliance” to fight communal forces.
SP leader Amar Singh said the three parties have decided not to put up candidates against each other in the two states that account for 120 seats–80 in UP and 40 in Bihar.
The development comes after days of mutual wrangling between these three parties and the Congress over seat sharing. The Congress plans to contest in as many seats as
possible in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.