iconimg Friday, August 28, 2015

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi , November 01, 2013
DMK chief M Karunanidhi has directed his party leaders to prepare to go alone in the Lok Sabha polls as he feels the Congress and Vijaykanth-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) have not responded to his feelers for a common front in the state to counter the AIADMK.

Karunanidhi rather believed that these two parties were already in “secret” talks to form a joint front by themselves to contest all 40 seats from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, DMK insiders said.

On August 25, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had telephoned Vijayakanth to greet him on his 61st birthday in what was seen as a new development that could signal fresh alignments in Tamil Nadu ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

With the Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka for the CHOGM already becoming a contentious issue, Karunanidhi’s was said to be “peeved” that his letter to the Congress and the DMDK a month ago -- asking for their support for his party’s candidate in the Yercaud assembly by-poll-- had remained unanswered.

Ideally, the DMK, along with the Congress and Vijayakanth’s DMDK would be the best option. Between them, they could command 45% of votes to corner the AIADMK, which eyeing for a lion’s share in the tally.

But Vijayakanth is lukewarm to the idea of joining hands with the DMK as it would affect the DMDK’s chances in the 2016 assembly elections.  He is also ambivalent towards the Congress, and strongly opposed the Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka, which is expected to have a bearing on the alliance question.

Karunanidhi told his party leaders that a four-cornered situation was already emerging in Tamil Nadu, involving the AIADMK and the Left, the Congress and the DMDK, the BJP and Vaiko’s MDMK, which is counting on Narendra Modi, and the remaining parties and the DMK.

By calling for starting preparations for going it alone, Karunanidhi signaled  backing for his son and DMK treasurer MK Stalin who prefers that, instead of depending on the Congress, the DMK must strengthen itself for the 2016 assembly polls.

In any case, the DMK cannot hope to get all its 18 Lok Sabha MPs re-elected this time. If the DMK contested as many Lok Sabha seats as possible, it would “energise” its cadres all over the state, who are demoralized since the 2011 assembly polls, which brought Jayalalithaa to power.