Like a thriller movie to make the fans to sit on the edge of the seat to know the suspense it had built up, yester-year hero turned politician Vijayakanth’s much touted Turning Point Conclave at Kancheepuram turned out to be a damp-squib without throwing hint what way he would sail in the ensuing State Assembly elections.
The entire spectrums of Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu were expecting that he would break his silence at the conference. Interestingly, party founder Vijayakanth’s wife Premalatha, who had criticised the DMK-Congress alliance a week ago, had indicated that he would announce a “good decision” on February 20.
Though the conference convened at the hometown of DMK founder and former Chief Minister C N Annadurai had created much hype in the political circles, wrapping-up the conference, he did not drop any hint about his election strategy, saying that there are still two months to go before the polls. He said that he would spell out his move at “an appropriate time”. In essence, he keeps the Opposition parties guessing further. Alternatively he is yet to come to a conclusion as to whom he should join to face the election.
Vijayakanth is being wooed by the DMK-led Congress alliance, People Welfare Alliance (PWA) comprising MDMK, Left parties and VCK, besides BJP. However, the Captain, as Vijayakanth is fondly called by his cadres, has kept these parties guessing without disclosing his next course of action.
If one leaps through his past, it would seem to be his practice. Taking the leaf out of a similar conference ahead of the May 2011 Assembly elections at Salem, he elicited the views of his party cadres over forming an alliance, leaving the floor open for another round of speculations. That is exactly what he did this time too.
In 2011, he had forged an alliance with AIADMK to dislodge the then ruling DMK Government. The Captain’s party emerged successful by winning 29 seats and Vijayakanth being elected from Rishivandiyam constituency in Villupuram district.
In the just concluded conference, Vijayakanth’s wife Premalatha lashed out Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK. “I thought that Jayalalithaa would be a brilliant administrator. But she proved she is not a good Chief Minister”, said Premalatha . She did not miss to accuse the previous DMK Government also of corruption running high in Tamil Nadu.
However, Vijayakanth who spoke after her singled out the AIADMK and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for attack and remained silent on DMK. He asked the cadres who gathered whether they prefered him to be a king (read Chief Minister) or a kingmaker. This might be interpreted to show that he would distance himself from the two Dravidian parties and contest on his own or choose between the BJP and PWA. Both Vijayakanth and his wife Premalatha had sparred BJP and PWA.
BJP sees this as a sure sign that he may align with them. PWA sources said they had given up hope of Vijayakanth joining their front. His pre-condition was that he should be projected as the front’s CM candidate. DMK camp has maintained a stoic silence and reacted very cautiously saying that still they are hoping for an alliance with DMDK. DMK leaders are aware of Vijayakanth’s ambitions that he is a hard nut to crack and his party’s chances of winning are conditional to Vijayakanth’s joining the DMK-led alliance. Undeterred by this, the DMK said that “It will begin seat sharing talks with the Congress and Indian Union Muslim League soon without waiting for Vijayakath’s words. Vijayakanth’s talks with the BJP and DMK have not progressed well. He keeps everybody guessing about his move.
|The first part of the DMDK manifesto released on February 20 puts the party’s focus on rural population, with schemes that offer monetary support. Three important sections have been targeted with retirement schemes. The manifesto said farmers, weavers and fisherfolk over the age of sixty would be provided monetary support of Rs 2,500 a month. For farmers, this would be applicable only if they do not possess land.
On the education front, the party proposed to introduce a breakfast scheme for students in government schools. According to the manifesto, One thousand girls’ schools would be converted into evening colleges so that they could access higher education without any hurdle.
As rightly pointed out by a political observer Vijayakanth’s action of hunting with the hound and running with the hare would destroy his and party’s credibility and unsteady vote bank. What happened to Pattal Makkal Katchi and VCK in the past may happen to him, he added. DMDK’s serious draw back is that his voters are not community or ideology based.
As expected, the eight DMDK rebels who have supporting the AIADMK for the past two and half years had informed the Speaker of the State Assembly about their resignation from DMDK. They waited till the last day of Assembly session to escape from anti-defection law. The eight rebel DMDK MLAs are planning to join AIADMK. With the resignation of eight DMDK MLAs, its strength in the Assembly comes down to 20. The speaker declared that Vijayakanth has lost the status of the Leader of the Opposition and other benefits. “No leader would be recognised as Leader of the Opposition as none of the legislature parties enjoys the minimum requirement of 24 MLAs in the assembly” a statement said.
Another blow to the ruling AIADMK is the decision of the Sarathkumar’s Samathuva Makkal Katchi leaving the alliance much before the polls. He may join the DMK-led front soon.
The DMK was in a jubilant mood after a Loyala College ex-students’ survey predicted a huge victory for DMK-led alliance. But the other parties pooh-poohed this survey saying it was a doctored version in favour of DMK. DMK camp feels that the Stalin recent campaign all over the State pinpointing the poor performance of the ruling party, the huge turn-ups it received and negative wave against the AIADMK would help them to win the elections. “It will not be a cake walk for DMK, the anti-AIADMK votes would not go to it. It may either go to BJP-led alliance or PWA,” pointed an Opposition leader.
The BJP does not give-up hope and continues its parleys with DMDK to rope in its front. Vijayakanth may at the end decide going alone or leading a DMDK-BJP front as its Chief Ministercal candidate. If not he may be forced to join DMK-Congress-led alliance. The third option is going with the PWA. If Vijayakanth chooses to go alone it would help the DMK front. Till that time it would be a guessing-game for all. Venkatesan TS