DMDK leader ‘captain’, as Vijayakanth is popularly called, with a nebulous vote base has been clever to keep these parties at tender-hooks about his moves and decisions. The actor turned politician, as in celluloid, is the cynosure and climax clincher. Finally, the captain has now decided to face the May 2016 assembly polls alone.
“His decision to go alone in the upcoming elections is not the last word and it is a mere intermission similar to the one in movies. There is a twist in the storyline. At the Kancheepuram turning point conclave he said he wanted to be a king rather than a king maker,” say political observers. As he rightly said that there is no surprise in his decision and it is the political parties fail to infer it correctly and were daydreaming that he would be part of their alliance.
Of course it was not easy for Vijayakanth as the pressures and pulls within and without were profound. In the last assembly elections, he sprang surprise at the last minute by aligning with the AIADMK led front. As there are days to go for the polls, one may not be sure about his final move. Moreover, this is third Assembly election since it came into existence and proclaimed its stand as an alternative to the DMK and AIADMK. There are some grumblings as well, particularly from those who were hoping to contest and win this Assembly election. “It is very difficult to win this election going alone. If the party fails to win an honourable number of seats, people may not accord importance to the party thereafter,” said a DMDK functionary.
“Vijaykanth wants to dethrone AIADMK mainly to take vengeance against Jayalalithaa for the humiliation he had suffered at her hands during the last 5 years. He has a long term vision i.e. in the next assembly, there will be a vacuum which he wants to fill up” says a DMDK MLA.
“His calculation is wrong. It is very difficult for him to win even a single seat in a multi-cornered contest. Going alone is a suicidal move,” pointed out a political observer. In 2006, when DMDK contested the assembly elections first time, it polled about 10 percent of the total votes. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the party fielded candidates in all the 39 constituencies and improved the total number of votes polled and pushed up its vote-share to 10.3 percent. These two performances were remarkable for a fledgling party, which evidently had no major political strategy. The AIDMK was obviously impressed and took it to its fold in 2011 assembly elections, which led to a real bonanza. The party won 29 seats and even became the official opposition party. Relationship with Jaya soured soon parties that failed in 2014, DMDK was part of the NDA and contested in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. Commen-surate with the number of seats contested, its vote-share slid to 5.1 per cent.
DMK was very confident of its efforts to bring Vijayakanth into their fold. Congress, which was hopeful of additional few thousands of DMDK votes, is yet to come out of the shock. At the same time, the bargaining with DMK has gone up. They may ask more number of seats. DMK is the first party to set up a panel for seat-sharing talks for the Assembly polls. It was formed after a meeting chaired by the party president M Karunanidhi. Sources said that at the meeting, final touches were given to the election manifesto, which is likely to be released in a week. After the talks with Union Minister Javadekar, DMK should have announced, ‘No more talks with DMDK’. Leaving the chance to DMDK, the DMK has accepted defeat psychologically.
Captain’s decision has surprised many including BJP. Union Minister Prakash Javedakar took all out efforts to woo Vijayakanth into NDA fold. Now the DMDK has chosen to go solo, the BJP appears to have adopted a wait and watch mode. BJP General Secretary H Raja said they welcome Vijayakanth’s announcement.
He added that Vijayakanth should remain steadfast in his decision to the end. “We are banking on the good work done by the Centre. We are ready to contest all 234 seats alone if required. Whoever wishes to join the NDA is welcome” said Raja. BJP State President Tami Isai Soundrarajan said we would have been happy if DMDK had joined our alliance. However we are happier that he did not join the DMK led front, she added.
n TS Venkatesan