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By: Sushila Ravindranath
In Tamil Nadu, hectic alliance moves have set the stage.
When Narendra Modi was in Chennai a few days ago, it was expected that the BJP would finalise its alliance with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), led by Vijayakanth. Not only did this not happen, existing partners, such as Vaiko of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), did not attend the meeting either. Although the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), headed by S.
Ramadoss, is expected to tie up with the BJP any moment now, nobody from the party showed up. In spite of hectic negotiations, no agreement has been reached on either seat- or constituency-sharing with the would-be alliance partners. The BJP’s key negotiators in the state have just not got their act together.
The man everybody is wooing, Vijayakanth (also known as Captain), is playing hardball with the BJP, Congress and DMK. At his recent, massive rally in Viluppuram district, he remained non-committal on alliances and took pot shots at his would-be partners.
The AIADMK supremo, J. Jayalalithaa, had announced months ago that her party would contest all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state and she was not looking for partners. This put an end to speculation about her friendship with Narendra Modi and an alliance with the BJP. She has, however, graciously given a seat each to the CPI and CPM, who are over the moon with this generosity. If the Third Front happens, it will be useful for Jayalalithaa to have the Left parties backing her for prime minister. The state is full of posters and flex boards calling her the future prime minister. She has also declared that it is time for the country to have a prime minister from Tamil Nadu.
The BJP has Vaiko’s MDMK and the Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) in its kitty. Vaiko is seen as a spent force and the IJK is a lightweight. Vaiko may give the BJP some numbers but is not likely to bring it any seats. The DMDK, which contested on its own in the previous Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, managed to get a vote share of 10 per cent. Subsequently, its vote share has dropped a bit, with its falling out with the AIADMK and some of its prominent MLAs leaving the party. It still has a reasonable following, which will be useful for any party it has an alliance with.
When the alliance talk began in the state, it was widely believed that the DMK, Congress and DMDK would come together and it would be a formidable force for Jayalalithaa to contend with. Subsequently, the DMK has announced that it will no longer go with the Congress. Both the Dalit parties, the continued…