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Vaiko a political martyr

The MDMK chief has refused to fight the assembly elections.
None | By GC Shekhar, Chennai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 31, 2006 01:21 PM IST

When it comes to flexing his muscles in the political arena, MDMK chief Vaiko begs to differ. He has once again donned the garb of a martyr by refusing to fight the assembly elections and passing on his Sivkasi seat to R Gnanadas, a party faithful.

Cut to circa 2004: he chose not to contest the Lok Sabha elections since MDMK's seat allocation was reduced by the DMK. He passed on the Sivakasi ba ton to a little known functionary Ravichandran.

Having consistently accused the DMK of promoting family members of MKarunanidhi, Vaiko has made it an unwritten policy not to thrust his family on the party. Till date, his son Durai Vayaypuri has stayed away from politics.

But his footsoldiers are not happy with the veteran's moves. Nanmaran, party spokesperson who quit in protest against his decision not to jump into the fray says, "Ultimately the people of the state judge you by how you perform in the Assembly and as an opposition leader Vaiko is bound to outshine others."

A senior DMK leader reasons that there is a method to the madness. Vaiko takes enormous pride in projecting himself as a martyr. "Be it the days when he was with the DMK, his arrest under Pota and his present refusal to contest elections, the MDMK leader's decisions are well orchestrated moves towards political martyrdom," he says.

Vaiko's sacrifice is being perceived as self-denial and party workers are not amused. They want their leader to thown in the gauntlet, pure election style, and take on his political rivals — especially the DMK.

Senior functionaries are hurt that instead of sharing his decisions, Vaiko preferred to surprise them with his announcement on Wednesday. "We are trying to convince him to change his mind, but on such issues he can be quite stubborn," says L. Ganesan, head of the party's presidium.

As the party frets, Vaiko chooses to keep mum. All efforts to reach him proved futile.

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