Cong wants Vijayakant, but DMK reluctant
The Pradesh Congress Committee headed by the Salem MP, KV Thankkabalu is straining every nerve to get the actor-turned-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK on board and is sure that the PMK led by S Ramadoss will also be soon back to the DMK-Congress front in the State.india Updated: Mar 11, 2009 21:31 IST
As the Congress and DMK formally begin the seats-sharing talks in Chennai on Thursday for the Lok Sabha elections, contentious issues vis-à-vis three smaller regional parties that have a sizeable presence in North Tamil Nadu are giving the UPA’s key constituents in the State sleepless nights.
The Pradesh Congress Committee headed by the Salem MP, KV Thankkabalu is straining every nerve to get the actor-turned-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK on board and is sure that the PMK led by S Ramadoss will also be soon back to the DMK-Congress front in the State.
This would make their front a “formidable alliance”, well equipped to repeat the 2004 performance of winning all the 40 seats at stake including one in Puducherry, Thankkabaalu said in Chennai on Wednesday after a meeting with senior functionaries to finalizs the Congress’ strategy for the seat-sharing talks with the DMK.
“We want all nationalist and secular forces to come under the leadership of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi who has steered the UPA in a historic coalition with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in the last five years,” said Thankkabalu, in a clear signal to both the PMK and DMDK not to unduly delay their individual decisions on the alliance issue.
These expansive words from Thankkabalu came even as both DMK and Congress face flak over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, and the handling of its political fallout in the State, namely the prolonged lawyers strike since Jan-end that has virtually paralyzed the functioning of the judiciary in Tamil Nadu.
“But anyone who tries to politicize the Sri Lankan Tamils issue will be surely disappointed,” he countered.
Just outside, a group of Congressmen from the Sriperumbudur Lok Sabha constituency protested at the party’s headquarters ‘Satyamurthy Bhavan’ in Chennai, demanding that the place associated with the martyrdom of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi should “not be bartered away” to the DMK in the seat-sharing talks.
The protestors’ demand will be taken note of, said the PCC Chief, even as he made clear that Congress will have no truck with outfits like, Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) led by Thol. Thirumavalavan, for their stridently pro-LTTE stance and even burning portraits of Ms. Sonia Gandhi as part of their stir for the Island Tamils cause.
From the DMK’s angle, however, the PMK’s return to its fold is not seen as much of a problem, though the wrangling over the number of seats could continue. Also, the lost chemistry at the DMK-PMK cadres’ level needs to be restored, DMK sources told HT.
The story is slightly different with the VCK, another borderline case, though a senior DMK functionary told HT on Wednesday that their presence in the alliance would help to swing more Dalit votes to the DMK-Congress front in the Northern Districts.
More problematic for the DMK is Vijayakant’s DMDK who so far has been building a base on a “Neither of the two main Dravidian parties plank”. Vijayakant had recently floated the idea of even “boycotting” the coming Lok Sabha polls over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, to avoid the predicament of a tie-up with the Congress that indirectly yokes him to the DMK, as his interest is more in the 2011 Assembly elections.
“So, if the DMDK comes with us now, we will be the losers for DMK will anyway not be getting those votes that Vijayakant has nurtured on an anti-Dravidian parties plank,” rued a senior DMK functionary, adding, “We will be better off” if the DMDK stuck to its original going-it-alone stance, as some sort a ‘third front’ in the State.