If anger against the Congress was evident at the DMK headquarters in Chennai, the mood at the AIADMK camp appeared upbeat over the snapping of ties between the M Karunanidhi-led party and the Congress on Saturday.
The AIADMK and its allies believe the DMK-Congress break-up brightens their election prospects. The CPI(M), which has allied with the AIADMK this time, said: “They lost the battle even before it began.”
The timing of the DMK shock treatment seems to have left the Congress without any ally for the polls on April 13.
The Congress last fought alone in 1989 and came third after the two Dravidian parties. Ever since, it has been riding with either the DMK or the AIADMK in subsequent elections.
However, a section of the Congress leadership in Tamil Nadu had pitched for going it alone in the polls this year, as they felt that association with 2G-spectrum-scam-tainted DMK would harm the party in the long run.
Moreover, going it alone is also what Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi supports. In fact, he had started programmes to rejuvenate the Youth Congress in Tamil Nadu.
However, the DMK knock could also end up nudging the Congress into reviving its ties with the AIADMK. But to accommodate the Congress, AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa will have to sacrifice the Left and longtime ally Vaiko’s MDMK. The AIADMK has already given 41 seats to actor Vijayakant’s DMDK.
For now, the Congress is ally-less in Tamil Nadu and will face an uphill task in the elections. It has been out of power in the state since the 1960s.
If the going will be tough for the Congress, the DMK too stands to lose the committed 8.4% vote bank of the Congress. In closely fought assembly polls, even a 2 % to 4 % vote share difference can alter the results dramatically.
In the last assembly elections, the collective share of the DMK alliance was 44.65% as compared to the AIADMK alliance total of 40.52%. Now, the AIADMK also has the 10% vote share of Vijaykant’s party.
Meanwhile, last-ditch efforts are on to save the DMK-Congress alliance.