With Vijayakanth rebuffing both the DMK and the BJP Tamil Nadu will witness a six-cornered fight, which can only benefit Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, says R Ramasubramanian.
Actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth's decision to go it alone in the upcoming Tamil Nadu assembly elections will result in a six-cornered fight.
On Thursday evening, Vijayakanth, or 'Captain' as he is called, put a full stop to the rumours about him joining hands with either the M Karunanidhi-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam is a member of the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who has been negotiating the BJP’s electoral alliances in Tamil Nadu, even told Rediff.com that his party was willing to project Vijayakanth as the alliance's chief ministerial candidate.
On the other hand, Karunanidhi, despite having the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League as his allies, gave an open call to 'Captain' to join his alliance. Only a few days ago, he hinted that the DMDK was about to join them, saying that "the fruit has ripened but he did not know when it will fall".
The DMK was pinning its hope on the DMDK to return to power after suffering successive electoral defeats in the 2011 assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
However, Vijayakanth turned down both the offers, when he announced his decision during a rally by his party’s women’s wing.
"I will contest the elections alone. A few people arw saying that I have received crores of rupees (to join the alliances led by big parties). I ask them, what will you say now? I reiterate that the DMDK will contest this election on its own," 'Captain' said.
The statement was, in fact, a reply to the widespread rumors in a section of the media that Vijayakanth had been offered a huge sum of money by both the DMK and the BJP to join their respective alliances.
However, more than being a slap in the face for the DMK and the BJP, his decision may serve as an advantage to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
It is almost certain that Tamil Nadu is going to witness a six-cornered fight among the AIADMK; the DMK-led alliance; the Pattali Makkal Katchi of S Ramadoss; the DMDK; the Makkal Nala Koottani -- an alliance of the Left, Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Dalit party Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi; and the BJP.
The BJP now is in a sorry state. With just two per cent of the vote share, it’s not even expected to put up a decent fight.
Historically, to AIADMK goes the honour of being the single largest party with highest number of vote share in the state, which has always ranged between 35 and 40 per cent; in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls it touched a whopping 44 per cent. Though it has come down a bit, it’s a fair guess that today it must be anywhere between 36 and 40 per cent.
The DMK's vote share is anywhere between 25 and 30 per cent and it was only by cobbling together good alliances that the party had been able to win the polls.
Though both the DMK and AIADMK captured power only through alliances, in case of a multi-cornered fight as now, the latter was always able to scrape through if not win by a huge majority.
So, this time, the arithmetic gives a clear advantage to Jayalalithaa and naturally, the jubilation was palpable in the AIADMK camp.
"We have won the polls. It's only a question of formalities now and you all will know this on May 19 when counting takes place. But Amma will not leave any stone unturned and we will strive hard to win all the 234 seats," a senior AIADMK leader told Rediff.com on the condition of anonymity.
The DMK, meanwhile, is finding it difficult to come out of this terrible shock.
It's not clear where the DMK lost the plot. In fact, seasoned opinion across the political spectrum in the state for the past two weeks was that Vijayakanth was inching towards the DMK. But now, it seems the game is over for the Dravida party.
A section of the party seniors believe that probably, the mishandling of the indirect talks with 'Captain' had sabotaged the prospects.
"Last week there were widespread news reports which suggested that the DMDK was being allotted 59 seats and a deal was clinched. There were also rumours about Vijayakanth being offered huge sums of money. But in reality, there was no agreement or deal at that time and, of course, talks were proceeding through the back channel. It was these nasty plants which could have angered Vijayakanth. I think the sheer mishandling or bungling of sorts by a section of the DMK has resulted in Thursday’s developments,” a senior DMK leader, who is in the inner circle of the party, said.
Whatever may be the reasons for Vijayakanth’s decision, it definitely marks a clear advantage for Jayalalithaa.
Though Vijayakanth’s wife Premalatha still maintains that those who accept 'Captain' as their chief ministerial candidate can come and talk, it’s highly unlikely that the scenario will undergo a major change in the coming days.
Vijayakanth repeated four times in his Thursday’s address that he will go it alone and also constituted a seven-member team, headed by his brother-in-law and DMDK’s youth wing leader L K Sudeesh, to finalise the candidates’ list.
After launching the DMDK in 2005, he contested the assembly elections alone in 2006 and was the only victorious candidate from his party. The DMDK also contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls on its own but could not win any seat. But, in the 2011 assembly polls, the DMDK joined the AIADMK alliance. Out of the 41 seats offered by Jayalalithaa, the DMDK won an impressive 29.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the DMDK was part of the NDA and was allotted 14 seats in the state. However, it was not able to win even a single seat.
Meanwhile, it is being said that a large section of DMDK’s second line of leadership, especially its district secretaries, are not happy with Captain’s decision and are waiting for a green signal from the DMK to switch sides.