The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 's ally Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam on Tuesday walked out of the alliance following failure of seat sharing talks for the April 6 Tamil Nadu assembly elections with just days left for the nominations to open.
After three-rounds of protracted negotiations with the AIADMK that failed to fructify, the DMDK led by actor-turned politician Vijayakanth said it was moving out of the alliance, that also has the Pattali Makkal Katchi and Bharatiya Janata Party as partners.
Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan quickly invited the DMDK to the front led by him and welcomed other likeminded parties as well. The alliance led by him, "is not the third but the first front," he said.
In a statement, Vijayakanth said the decision to snap ties with the AIADMK was taken following a unanimous view reached at a consultative meeting with party's district secretaries.
The AIADMK has firmed up pacts with the PMK and BJP, allotting them 23 and 20 assembly seats respectively out of the 234 at stake. BJP has also been given the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency where a bypoll is to be held.
Apparently stung by the hard stand taken by the AIADMK, DMDK deputy general secretary L K Sudhish claimed the ruling party would be routed and lose deposit in all constituencies.
He accused AIADMK deputy coordinator K P Munusamy of working like the 'progaganda secretary' of PMK, apparently blaming the ruling party leader for the poll deal not getting finalised. Munusamy is the PMK's sleeper cell, he alleged.
Politically, the DMDK and PMK had not been on good terms for a long time though they had sailed together with the BJP during the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections with the AIADMK.
Asked about the reason for snapping ties, DMDK deputy secretary B Parthasarathy said, "We sought 23 segments and wanted these to be picked from the 29 seats we had won in 2011 assembly polls. The AIADMK, however, did not agree and we decided to break ties."
Terming the development unfortunate, AIADMK senior leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said the DMDK leadership should not express views without gratitude as it received 'recognition' only after aligning with his party in 2011 assembly polls.
The DMDK's expectation of constituencies was not commensurate with its strength and accepting seats offered in tune with its influence was prudence but it failed to utilise the opportunity, he said.
The loss was only for DMDK, he said adding Vijayakanth-led party leaders should show maturity while expressing views.
BJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupati said the DMDK's move was unfortunate. The coalition dharma was all about reaching a consensus based on present realities and strength.
Expressing unhappiness over the DMDK move, he said the party did not realise that the situation that existed a decade ago has altered now. However, DMDK's exit would not weaken the AIADMK-led alliance, he said.
The DMDK was consulting its office-bearers on its next course of action, party sources said.
When the popular yesteryear actor Vijayakanth launched his party in 2005 and emerged victorious from the Virudhachalam constituency in 2006 assembly polls, he created a wave of confidence among his supporters.
The fledgling outfit garnered an impressive 8.38 per cent votes in its debut 2006 polls though only Vijayakanth emerged victor among his party's 232 nominees.
After it improved its vote share to 10.08 per cent in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, it aligned with the AIADMK in 2011 assembly polls and emerged as the principal opposition party by bagging 29 seats out of the 41 it contested.
The DMK, which lost power in 2011 polls, had to be contend with 23 seats and was relegated to the third spot in the assembly.
Adored as 'Black MGR' by his fans for his generosity, Vijayakanth had a very impressive fan following during his hey days.
The 68-year old Vijayakanth is now battling health issues and is not politically active for the past few years and the DMDK is run by his wife Premalatha, who is the party treasurer, and brother-in-law Sudhish.
In 2016 assembly polls, the DMDK-People's Welfare Front comprising Vaiko's MDMK, CPI-M, CPI, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Tamil Maanila Congress came a cropper with none managing to win even a single seat. Vijayakanth was defeated in Ullundurpet constituency.