A meeting between top leaders of two opposition parties in Tamil Nadu at a high-profile wedding has fuelled talks of a possible tie-up, with ruling AIADMK party chief J Jayalalithaa barred from contesting the 2016 state polls.
“We are not enemies. We are long-time friends,” said DMK president M Karunanidhi on Thursday, a day after his son MK Stalin met MDMK founder Vaiko – a former DMK leader himself. “If a new alliance emerges, I will be very happy.”
The occasion was the wedding ceremony of PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss’s granddaughter, held on Wednesday and Thursday at Mahabalipuram, 50 km south of Chennai.
Analysts say the DMK is trying to stitch together a grand coalition by courting former allies, the PMK and the MDMK, who are currently part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that’s in power at the Centre.
AIADMK, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, was dealt a massive blow when Jayalalithaa was forced to step down as chief minister following a corruption case conviction in September.
She is out on bail but cannot contest elections for several years unless her conviction is overturned.
Chemistry is the key to the fate of coalitions in Tamil Nadu politics, say experts.
The possible realignment was not surprising because BJP allies may have become wary after the treatment meted out to the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, said Prof Ramu Manivannan of Madras University.
Both Vaiko and the PMK are upset with the BJP over the Modi government’s stand on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue and what they consider the central government’s repeated attempts to impose Hindi on the nation, sources say.
The DMK was routed in this year’s Lok Sabha election by the AIADMK, which won 37 of Tamil Nadu’s 39 parliamentary constituencies. In the 2011 state election, the DMK could not even emerge as the main opposition after being crushed by Jayalalithaa’s party, which picked up 191 of the 234 assembly seats.
BJP leader Muralidhar Rao dismissed the talks of a possible realignment in Tamil Nadu’s politics. “On an auspicious day (the wedding), we think auspicious and so wish this alliance to continue,” he said.