They were friends once, and then they were foes. AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa wants to be friends again with the Congress, and on Thursday urged it to dump its Tamil Nadu ally — and her sworn enemy — the DMK.
Jayalalithaa said the DMK regime in Tamil Nadu was like a person “mired in quicksand” amid mounting charges of corruption and lawlessness against it. If the Congress stayed with the DMK, she warned “it too will go under”.
The AIADMK chief recalled her “cordial relations” with the Congress leaders including late Rajiv Gandhi and said she considered Indira Gandhi as “my mother”.
The Congress reacted cautiously. “We have not decided (on joining any) front with anybody, including Jayalalithaa,” said Congress’s M. Veerappa Moily. “Our alliance with the DMK is quite strong.”
The Congress and the AIADMK fought the 2001 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu together and swept the poll. But they separated — the AIADMK went with the BJP and the Congress with the DMK — in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
Jayalalithaa got wiped out.
With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, every big and small party is looking for alliances and tie-ups knowing well no one party can alone make the government.
“Take back your hand (off the DMK),” Jayalalithaa urged the Congress, punning on the word ‘hand’, also the latter’s poll symbol. She said the people’s mood was one of “total anger and resentment” against the DMK.
Though Congress leaders believe that the anti-incumbency feeling against the DMK in the state has lessened in recent weeks, they are concerned by the ally’s stand on the Sri Lankan issue.
Jayalalithaa’s remarks came at a function in Chennai to solemnise the marriage of 61 couples to mark her 61st birthday on February 24 though she has cancelled all celebrations that day in view of the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
The DMK with 96 MLAs needs the Congress’s 35 MLAs to stay in power in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly. Jayalali-thaa had recently firmed up an alliance with the CPI and CPM, but she feels the need to expand and has now sought to drive a wedge between the Congress and DMK.