Finally ending the suspense that had led to uncertainty in two coalitions, principal opposition party DMDK announced on Thursday that it has formally begun talks with the BJP on forging an alliance.
The regional party was the most sought-after political entity ahead of the general election, as BJP, DMK and Congress were calculating that its nearly 10 per cent voteshare could be a gamechanger. However, even as it held informal talks with these parties, the DMDK remained mum, with the party members close to its leader Vijayakanth maintaining that they were only exploratory talks.
This has come as a shot in the arm for the BJP, which has been trying all it can to lure Vijayakanth to its side since December.
But as DMDK was also approached by the other parties, its leadership decided to wait for all offers before finalising an option.
This led to a deadlock in the saffron front, as the seat-sharing talks with MDMK, PMK and few other minor parties could not be held without finalising alliance with DMDK. The DMK, too, waited till two days ago to get a green signal, and proceeded with discussions with other allies only after delaying it till the last minute.
It still is too early for the BJP to celebrate, as the DMDK and PMK are almost mutually exclusive. The two have been at loggerheads ever since the former was launched in 2005, and have been fighting for the same votebank which has only sharpened the rivalry.
The PMK has already announced candidates for 10 constituencies in north Tamil Nadu where it has been traditionally strong, but the DMDK too has raised claims for the seats in the region where it says it has an upper hand since the last couple of elections.
Within the PMK, its founder S Ramadoss was not in favour of the alliance, but was convinced by his son and former union minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who has been in charge of holding talks with the BJP. And in the DMDK, Vijayakanth’s wife Premalatha and her brother LK Sudheesh, the two most important power centres in that party, were in favour of a tie-up with the BJP.
A DMDK leader said on condition of anonymity that it was unlikely that both DMDK and PMK will continue in the same alliance.