Ending weeks of speculation, the general council meeting of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) decided to quit the UPA and join the AIADMK-led alliance on Thursday. Both its ministers in the union cabinet, Anbumani Ramadoss and R. Velu, will resign shortly.
The party, whose political allegiance has veered back and forth between the two main parties of Tamil Nadu, the DMK and the AIADMK for the past 11 years, has an extraordinary record: whichever alliance it joins, wins the election hands down in the state.
The alliance formed by the PMK with the DMK and the MDMK — another regional party — had swept the last Lok Sabha poll, winning 38 of the 39 Tamil Nadu seats, the PMK itself winning all the five seats it contested. But differences soon developed between PMK chief S. Ramadoss and DMK boss and Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi which led to the PMK being expelled from the alliance in June last year. Since then the PMK has been in the opposition in Tamil Nadu.
At the centre, however, the PMK continued to back the UPA with two ministers remaining in the cabinet. But crunch time came with the elections — the Congress having decided to continue its tie up with the DMK, the PMK had either to make up with the DMK or break away altogether. Despite intense pressure from the Congress to accept the first alternative, it chose the second.
The last time PMK joined hands with Jayalalitha’s AIADMK was in the 2001 state elections, which she won by a landslide.
An overwhelming majority in the PMK’s general council — 2,453 of the 2,581 who attended the meeting — voted against making up with the DMK. “The PMK has decided to ally with the AIADMK,” said party chief S. Ramadoss. “It is the DMK which snapped ties with us last year, and we are not keen to re-tie the torn cord.”
“Velu and I will be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to submit our resignations within a couple of days,” said his son Anbumani.