PMK to contest rural body polls alone, to remain in NDA
On late Tuesday night, PMK chief GK Mani released a statement announcing that they will go alone in the polls to be held on October 6 and October 9. He added that this was being made with approval of PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss and youth wing secretary Anbumani Ramadoss
Chennai: In what appears to be the first crack in the AIADMK-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) president GK Mani has announced to contest next month’s rural local body polls in nine districts alone.
Mani, however, clarified that there were no problems in the alliance and “we are still in the NDA”.
Mani explained that the PMK’s senior leadership and office bearers of the nine districts had a meeting via Zoom on Tuesday to discuss the polls where they decided that they should contest alone. “The poll dates were announced only a day ago and there are only a few days left to file nomination. So, everyone felt that if we go back to discussing with the AIADMK it will get delayed further and there will be confusion over who should contest so it was a singular demand that we contest alone,” said Mani.
On late Tuesday night, Mani released a statement announcing that they will go alone in the polls to be held on October 6 and October 9. He added that this was being made with approval of PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss and youth wing secretary Anbumani Ramadoss.
The districts that will go to the polls include Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Tiruppattur, Vellore, and Ranipet.
News quickly spread that the PMK had walked out of the alliance and that Ramadoss spoke ill of the AIADMK. “People are scheming and spreading rumours. I want to clarify that ‘doctor ayiah’ (the way the party addresses its founder) hasn’t spoken bad about Edappadi Palaniswami or anyone in the AIADMK.”
It appears that the AIADMK was caught unawares. “We know under what pressure the PMK has taken this stand,” AIADMK spokesperson D Jayakumar told reporters. “The PMK will be the loser going on their own.”
PMK, an influential Vanniyar-caste based party, has a stronghold in seven of the 9 districts where polls are to be held. A PMK leader, on condition of anonymity, said contesting alone will work in their favour. “Local body polls aren’t like the assembly or parliament elections,” the leader said. “The individual matters here and people will vote based on a local person who will get things done for them.”
Elections in these nine districts were not held in 2019 along with the rest of the state due to the bifurcation of old districts and creation of new ones.
The NDA-led by AIADMK in the state with the BJP and the PMK as constituents has been in place since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The PMK confirmed its alliance with AIADMK for the assembly elections only at the last minute after the state government rushed through a legislation to provide 10.5% reservation to Vanniyars within the 20% MBC quota in jobs and educational institutions to appease its core vote bank. The PMK won only 5 of the 23 seats it contested in the April 6 assembly election.
After the DMK came to power, the PMK has supported it on a few issues inside the assembly. The PMK voted in favour of resolutions to repeal the CAA and farm laws, while the AIADMK and the BJP had walked out.
Meanwhile, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by actor-turned-political Vijayakanth also announced that his party will contest the rural polls alone despite being in an alliance with the TTV Dhinakaran led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).