By K. Srinivasan
M. Karunanidhi, President of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), is well known for clever political moves. The Congress-DMK alliance which was hailed in the beginning is now in a quagmire with the Tamil patriarch making Congress dance to his tunes.
The confusion in the alliance begins at Pondicherry. DMK Chief has allotted Pondicherry Constituency to Pattali Makkal Katchi(PMK) without having a word with Congress. Karunanidhi should have taken the consent of Congress to earmark this Pondicherry seat to PMK, but this was not done. The Congress, which was so far in a mood of exhilaration due to alliance with DMK, now woke up to the reality that the DMK has ditched it by offering the seat to PMK. The seat is now held by the Congress.
PMK continued to be in the National Democratic Alliance led by BJP even after the Congress-DMK alliance took shape, but suddenly, it decided to break away from the NDA and joined hands with DMK.
When Pondicherry was earmarked to PMK, Congress workers had the jolt and chagrin. Concealing her disappointment, Sonia Gandhi now says that the Congress-DMK alliance is only in Tamil Nadu and not in Pondicherry State.
When Communists claimed Nagapattinam Constituency, Karunanidhi said, ?The Constituencies in which DMK won during the last election will be retained by DMK and will not be given to any other Party.? This is typical of Karunanidhi.
Karunanidhi could have justified to some extent by allotting Chidambaram, Chengalpattu, etc. won by PMK in the last election, to Congress. In the Congress-AIADMK alliance during MGR period, Congress shared 25 seats and the AIADMK 15 seats. Today, Congress has to rest content with picking up the crumbs thrown by DMK. From 15 seats, which Congress initially wanted to get, leaders like Dr. Manmohan Singh and Kamalnath who made a few trips to Chennai for seat-sharing talks, pruned it down to 12 seats. Ultimately, they got 10 seats.
If Congress, PMK and MDMK (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam led by Vaiko) are kept in juxtaposition, one thing will clearly emerge, Congress and MDMK has got supporters throughout Tamil Nadu, whereas PMK has influence only in pockets in North Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi'scalculation is that DMK will have an astounding victory if DMK'spopularity and PMK'sinfluence in North Tamil Nadu go together. This will be clear even on a cursory glance of the constituencies selected for DMK and PMK. DMK and PMK contest in all constituencies in North Tamil Nadu except in Vellore and Vandavasi. Out of total 15 seats contested by DMK, 12 are in North and West Tamil Nadu. All the six constituencies of PMK are in North Tamil Nadu.
It is for this reason that Karunanidhi struck the deal with PMK in a hurry and decided the seat allocation. In his view, an alliance with PMK will be more important and helpful than one with the Congress. The fact that no seats have been allotted to Congress in the North will make this point clear.
Congress is not the only disenchanted party in the alliance. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) led by Vaiko is another one. Aggrieved by the dynastic policy of Karunanidhi to elevate his son, M.K. Stalin, to the top post in DMK party, he had parted company to form MDMK. Now, MDMK is aligned with DMK.
Though PMK and MDMK are said to be equal in strength in the State, disparity was shown in the allocation of seats. PMK was allotted six seats and one Rajya Sabha seat, whereas MDMK was given only four seats. Even these four seats are such that it will create a rift within the party.
MDMK Treasurer and former Central Minister, Kannappan was returned from Tiruchengode constituency in the last election, but this seat was not earmarked for MDMK. Similarly, A. Ganesamurty who contested from Palani is not in a position to contest again from there. He is out on bail after 552 days imprisonment under POTA.
When Vaiko was in jail under POTA, L.Ganesan, Party President could not hold discussions with him on party affairs in the presence of the jail authorities. It is felt at lower levels that he took advantage of this to finalize the seat sharing arrangement himself and in the process retained the Trichy constituency for him.
Yet another to be hoodwinked by DMK President is Dalit parties. They heaped praises on Karunanidhi during the last Assembly Elections, but now Karunanidhi is viewed as an enemy of Dalits. Dr. Krishnaswamy and Tirumavalavan of Dalit organizations, says that ?Caste clashes have come down very much after 2001 Assembly election and this is unsavoury to Karunanidhi?, and hence Karunanidhi plans to create an atmosphere of caste clashes by talking ill of Dalits. As resenting the remarks of Karunanidhi, Tirumavalavan resigned his Assembly Seat which he won in the last election by contesting under DMK symbol.
Now coming to Congress, they claim that as per Jain Commission'sfinal report, DMK is not connected with Rajiv Gandhi murder and hence they are aligning with DMK. In its Interim Report, Jain Commission had said that the DMK Government had allowed the assassins of EPRLF Padmanabha to escape and this has made the LTTE to plan Rajiv Gandhi'smurder and hence the link between DMK and LTTE is to be investigated. Quoting this, Sonia Gandhi withdrew her support to Gujaral Government in which DMK was participating. Jain Commission has not disputed its Interim Report. Alas, Congress has been pushed down to this poor state of aligning with DMK which was connected with Rajiv Gandhi murder for getting mere 10 seats.
Karunanidhi has used his ingenuity in naming the alliance also. The name, Secular Alliance, was covertly changed to Democratic Progressive Alliance and showed his ?Big Brother? attitude by announcing the new name without informing alliance partners. Reason for this change is not much to seek. He foresaw that he will be quizzed as to how it can be named a Secular Alliance when Muslim League was a partner and to avoid this embarrassment, he named it as Democratic Progressive Alliance.
Congress-DMK alliance is a conglomeration of parties with different and opposing ideologies. MDMK and PMK striving to lift the ban on LTTE in alliance with the Congress supporting the ban; Communists opposing the non-secular parties being a partner with Muslim League; Pondicherry Congress vowing to work against PMK which has snatched the Pondicherry seat and PMK, wounded at heart as it was not invited for a tea party at Delhi by Sonia Gandhi. It is strange that Congress and Communists who are in opposite quarters in Kerala are in alliance here. To put it in a nutshell, the alliance is a confusion to the core. Looking at this alliance, it can be said that AIADMK-BJP need not work hard to defeat the DMK alliance as the partners of the latter will themselves pull down the legs of their partners.