Neither 2G corruption nor the Sri Lankan Tamils issue that had rocked their nine-year-old alliance in 2013 could stop DMK and the Congress from joining hands for the upcoming Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu without any preconditions
In a totally unexpected turn, the isolated Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) after hours of deliberation and left with no option to join hands with Congress who, it had said, betrayed its interest with a sole aim of unseating the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) from power.
The DMK after enjoying in the UPA-1 & UPA-II regimes came out of the United Progressive Alliance on the pretext of differences over the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue. The real reason behind this move was the Manmohan Singh Government’s decision to go with the 2G scam in which DMK patriarch’s daughter Kanimozhi and then Minister A Raja, nephew of Dayanidhi Maran were involved. Before the Lok Sabha elections 2014, Karunanidhi announced the DMK would never align with the Congress in future and never entertain a thought that “ DMK would form an alliance with that party as it had cast aspersion against Kanimozhi , accused A Raja of corrupt person in 2G scam and caused untold miseries to Dayalu Ammal (Karunanidhi’s wife) and brought disrepute to the party. He also said that the Congress had added so many zeros and foisted false cases against DMK. Because of this Kanimozhi and A Raja were in prison. These were the words of Karunanidhi on December 15, 2013. For the DMK, first it lost power in the 2011 Assembly elections and was reduced to a third position. It could not make much gain in the subsequent Corporation polls and Local Body elections and by-polls. In the 2014 Parliamentary election, the DMK drew a blank. “ It is due to the fact that the people of this State do not want to pardon the party for its mega scams like 2G, land grab charges, mis-handling of Cauvery water sharing issue, Mullai Periyar Dam, the power outages etc.” explained a political observer. His eldest son and former minister M K Alagiri raised a banner of revolt against his father and subsequently he was expelled from the party.
To leave no stone unturned the DMK treasurer and heir apparent M K Stalin toured breath and length of the state to win over the masses and listed out the failures of the Jayalalithaa Government. The failing health of Karunanidhi is not permitting him to actively campaign and look after party affairs. The wheelchair bound Karunanidhi is churning out pages of letters to his partymen and statements daily criticising the ruling establishment. For the DMK, the coming assembly election is ‘a win or die’ proposition. So very cautiously it makes its moves with an object of retaining the lost ground. The December deluge came handy for the party and it mounted serious charges against the AIADMK government for failing to protect the lives and properties. The DMK made an open invitation to actor turned politician Vijayakant’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) to join its alliance. It also made contacts with BJP. Vijayakant, though a political novice, is clever in not revealing his cards. The BJP is wooing him in its fold. “The DMK has to make a move to avoid isolation and to fight against AIADMK it needs allies. The irony is no stronger parties are willing to go with the DMK. Congress knocked at its door without any precondition and hence had the alliance. It is a political opportune formation” said
a political anyalyst.
The bad time started for Congress in 1967 when it was defeated by the DMK. After the demise of Kamaraj, and GK Moopanar the party has no single leader with a mass following in Tamil Nadu. Rahul Gandhi’s repeated visits did not improve the situation. Nothing could stop the steady erosion of its base in Tamil Nadu where it once held the sway. GK Moopanar’s son G K Vasan’s exit in 2014 Lok Sabha polls has reduced its bargaining powers. Congress party’s stand on slew of issues like Cauvery, Lankan naval men’s attack on Tamil fisherfolks, and the demand for Jallikattu, Mullai-Periyar Dam has never been in tune with the popular sentiment of the people of the State. The pan-Bharat party did manage to hold on its own in Parliamenaryt polls until 2009 but its tally has nosedived in successive assembly polls. After Indira Gandhi conceded all seats to DMK chief M Karunanidhi in the 1971 polls, the party’s fortunes changed forever. Indira Gandhi was keen in getting more Lok Sabha seats. Today it is not even the third largest party in Tamil Nadu as that slot has been taken over by DMDK. Now what “national compulsion” forced it to forge an alliance is a million dollar question.
On February 13, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad closeted with Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence and inked the pact. He later told media persons “We have worked together. We have fought elections together. We have formed governments together. I am sure we will fight together in these coming months”. He also lavishly praised that DMK had been the most dependable of allies and would always remain so. Congress may have to settle for fewer seats probably 25 to 30 out of the total 234. This time it had no preconditions for joining the DMK.
The DMK pulled out of UPA in 2013 on the welfare of Sri Lanka Tamil issues. But the real reason was the huge anti-incumbency wave against the Manmohan singh Government. So what has changed now since 2013? Pat came from Azad saying “sometimes, in politics there are compulsions, pressures but by and large DMK and Congress have gone together in assembly and Lok Sabha polls on a number of occasions”. He also said that number of seats that the party would get was not an issue considering the larger objective of bringing a DMK-led Government to power in the State. Azad and M K Stalin once again extended invitation to DMDK to join the alliance. MK Alagiri has described the alliance between Congress and DMK as opportunist and alleged that the parties lacked principles. He said, “No alliance can defeat AIADMK.” DMK Chief Karunanidhi advised party cadres not to give importance to his statement.
“The alliance does not pose any threat to the BJP’s prospects at the hustings”, said BJP state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan. Their alliance would hardly make any significance to the people in so far as this Assembly polls are concerned, she explained. Tamilisai declared that the NDA would rake up the 2G and other scams during their poll campaign. “Congress, DMK are only two zeros and cannot add up to heroes” said Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
Vijayakant’s wife Premalatha said, “Both Congress and DMK are corrupt parties and were responsible for so many scams. BJP’s Ila Ganesan and CPI state secretary Mutharasan have welcomed Premalatha’s statement regarding the DMK-Congress alliance. Tamil Maanila Congress vice-president BS Gnanadesikan recalled that Sri Lankan issue was responsible for not aligning with the Congress.
The DMK seems to have forgotten its own statements of 2013, he said. CPI (M) State Secretary G Ramakrishnan said, “Cobbling up an alliance with the Congress and DMK is not a surprise as both partners are anti-poor and implement neo-liberal economic policies.”
Though DMK has clinched a poll pact with Congress well ahead of others, it would face an uphill task as its rivals would focus on the unholy alliance between these two parties with their alleged involvement in so many scandals and thereby queering its pitch during poll campaign.
Venkatesan T S