Ahead of two crucial bypolls and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, DMK, the main opposition in Tamil Nadu, has started backroom negotiations for stitching together an alliance.
This comes at a time when the political scene in the state is bound to change with the Madras High Court verdict in the disqualification case of 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs, expected in the third week of October. The 18 disqualified MLAs are now in Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, the AIADMK’s rebel faction led by T T V Dhinakaran. A verdict in their favour will put into question the AIADMK’s majority in the Assembly.
While the DMK, along with Congress and IUML, already constitutes a powerful opposition in the Assembly, two more possible additions to the DMK front may be the Dalit party, Thol Thirumavalavan’s VCK, and CPI.
Another party largely representing the Vanniyar community — S Ramadoss’s PMK — is also showing signs of breaking away from the NDA alliance. However, VCK’s presence is likely to spoil PMK’s prospects to join the DMK front for their traditional rivalry. CPM, meanwhile, appears to be in a fix owing to its stand to not enter an alliance with Congress in it.
On Thursday, VCK chief Thirumavalavan and general secretary D Ravikumar visited DMK president M K Stalin. Ravikumar said they met Stalin to invite him to a conference. “We handed over the invitation. We also had a brief discussion about the two upcoming bypolls,” he said.
The Election Commission is expected to announce soon the dates for bypolls to Thiruparankundram and Tiruvarur Assembly seats.
Asked if there were talks about forging an alliance against the BJP, Ravikumar said VCK is in a “friendly alliance” with DMK and like-minded parties opposing BJP and “its communal politics”. “Our wish is to join hands not only with DMK, but all Left parties and everyone who opposes BJP’s communal politics. Decisions on electoral alliance are yet to be taken,” he said.
Asked about alliance talks with VCK and other Opposition parties, veteran DMK leader Durai Murugan said, “There were talks, not alliance talks. We haven’t had any alliance talks so far.”
Meanwhile, a senior CPI leader hinted that they will be happy to join an alliance with DMK if that would “help build a larger secular alliance in the south”. “CPM leader Prakash Karat is against the idea of joining a Congress alliance. We cannot help it if they fail to understand the crucial situation. We wouldn’t mind joining hands with a larger secular front even if CPM has other plans,” he said.
Asked if CPM’s decision to stay away from an alliance will alienate the party in Tamil Nadu, state CPM secretary K Balakrishnan said a decision on this is yet to be taken. “Our central committee meeting in Delhi starts tomorrow. There we will decide on tactics for the Parliament polls,” he said.
Asked about the Karat-line that opposes an alliance with Congress, he said, “Defeating BJP and AIADMK is our main aim. Anti-communal votes shouldn’t be divided, that is our priority. Beyond that, I cannot talk about a specific alliance plan now as we are yet to discuss that,” he said.