Smarting under a humiliating snub from Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) supremo Captain Vijayakanth, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is planning to engineer a split in his party or weaken it by weaning away second-rung leaders in the run-up to the upcoming state assembly elections.
Resentment reportedly arose among DMDK cadres and second-rung leaders over the party’s decision to shrug off an alliance with the M Karunanidhi-led DMK. Former deputy chief minister MK Stalin is reportedly meeting a few DMDK MLAs who are unhappy with the party decision, and want to align with a strong force like the DMK for electoral gains.
Party sources said that the DMK is now targeting the DMDK’s district secretaries and party MLAs. They said that while several second-rung leaders and MLAs of the DMDK have been trying to meet Stalin, a few DMK leaders are already in touch with disgruntled elements in Vijayakanth’s party.
However, sources close to Stalin said that the DMK would not reward any leaders who have crossed over from the DMDK. “We are in no mood to entertain such people,” a DMK leader said, although he did not deny that some DMDK leaders were keen on joining his party.
Over 1,000 DMDK cadres – led by Tiruchirapalli district leader Amjad Ahmed – joined the DMK in the presence of senior leader KN Nehru on Sunday. Similar ‘transfers’ of cadres and leaders were taking place in different places of Tamil Nadu, said another source close to Stalin, but denied that the DMK had anything to do with it.
The J Jayalalithaa-led All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) , which is also trying to weaken its former ally, had snapped up eight of its MLAs last year itself. The party’s leaders are also negotiating with DMDK members who are willing to cross over.
The DMDK, on the other hand, asserted that it was not bothered by the desertions. The party maintained that as long as the people vote for Vijaykanth’s ideals, it’s the defecting MLAs who stand to lose. A senior functionary of the People’s Welfare Front (PWF) , which has allied with the DMDK, said, “Premalatha (the wife of Captain Vijayakanth) has said that the party will not be affected in any way by people wanting to leave it.”
However, analysts believe that the PWF-DMDK combine may run into trouble when it’s time to discuss seat adjustments and constituency choices. Senior BJP leader H Raja even wondered if the new ‘third front’ would remain intact till election time.
The PWF functionary, however, termed these speculations as wishful thinking on the part of opponents who were rattled by the entry of a “real alternative” into the state’s political arena.