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CPI(M) finally forms third front in Tamil Nadu, now wait for Vijayakanth

For smaller parties in Tamil Nadu, the 2016 election is going to be crucial as the very existence of these parties may be challenged if they are wiped out of the state assembly.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: November 3, 2015 3:34:25 pm
Vaiko with Vijayakanth Vaiko with Vijayakanth

Almost a month after four political parties in Tamil Nadu – Vaiko’s MDMK, Dalit leader Thol Thirumavalavan’s VCK, CPI and CPM — finalised a plan to form a third front called the People’s Welfare Front (PWF), the team has released a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) confirming the electoral alliance which will oppose the two leading Dravidian parties — the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK.

The much anticipated formation of a third front, amidst uncertainties and discussions for over six months, has not only shattered the DMK’s dreams of a larger alliance in the assembly elections against AIADMK, but also makes the ruling party ‘happy’ as its leaders believe that a multi-cornered election would only help them to retain power.

CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan said they have come out with a CMP that shares the views of all four parties. The idea of a CMP is again a first of its kind in the state that had otherwise seen elections with larger parties competing against each other to patronise the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils while smaller parties would wait till the final moment to strike an alliance with the party that would win the election.

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In the CMP, the Sri Lankan Tamil issue has been taken off the priority list. It is also unique inasmuch as it has omitted the demand for a separate Tamil Eelam, thanks to the CPI(M) strategy that managed to pacify Vaiko and Thirumavalavan who are otherwise known for their emotional, pro Tamil, speeches.

While Vaiko is being projected as the leader of PWF, the Left parties hope that his image as a veteran leader, known for his emotional speeches and pro-people stands, will benefit the third front in drawing support from non-committed voters. During a mass rally organised by PWF at Trichy on Saturday, Vaiko had recited a few lines of the anti-liquor song of Kovan, who was arrested under sedition charge for his lyrics against Jayalalithaa, and dared the police to arrest him.

However, Vaiko will struggle to regain the confidence of the people for being an opposition leader without any consistent stand. He had abandoned his supporters several times to switch camps from DMK to AIADMK to the NDA during elections.

The PWF camp is now holding talks with Vijayakanth’s DMDK and GK Vasan’s TMC. Recently, when Vaiko and Vijayakanth were on the same flight from Madurai to Chennai, it triggered rumours of a possible alliance but Vijayakanth continues to shy away from a decision.

For smaller parties in Tamil Nadu, the 2016 election is going to be crucial as the very existence of these parties may be challenged if they are wiped out of the state assembly. The present vote share of PWF would roughly be 10 per cent – that’s why Vijayakanth, is important – he may even emerge as the CM candidate of the third front if talks go well. To make this happen, he has to quit the NDA alliance and no longer be seen as a Narendra Modi loyalist.

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