Demanding allies blunt DMK edge
Karunanidhi is better placed than Jaya as the two gear up for assembly elections, writes GC Shekhar.india Updated: Mar 27, 2006 18:59 IST
"If the DMK does not win this election it will never be able to raise its head for another 100 years," was DMK president M. Karunanidhi’s ultimatum to workers.
And even the diehard DMK supporter could not but miss the tinge of desperation in that appeal.
Karunanidhi is better placed than J Jayalalithaa as the two gear up for the assembly elections. He leads a formidable alliance that consists of the Congress, PMK, the two Left parties and a few minor parties. His party's central ministers have been rolling out schemes in the state so the DMK could flaunt its own performance before the voters.
But wrangles over seats has dented the DMK challenge. The party, which normally calls the shots, found itself pushed into a corner by demanding allies.
Karunanidhi forced Vaiko's hand by asking him to either accept 21 seats or leave. The expected happened. MDMK crossed over.
Sensing blood, DMK's allies hiked their demands. Not wanting to lose another ally, Karunanidhi caved in by allotting huge chunks to the Congress (48), PMK (31), CPM(13) and CPI (10). For a state that has never voted for a coalition in more than four decades, Karunanidhi has gambled. The AIADMK is bound to exploit this factor by projecting Jayalalithaa as the only leader capable of giving a strong, stable single party government in the state.
Vaiko's departure has also deprived the DMK front of a charismatic campaigner. Now, the poll burden is entirely on Karunanidhi's aging shoulders. Among his allies, the only other effective campaigner is finance minister P. Chidambaram.