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Shaping electoral alliance

Moving beyond AIADMK and DMK, Tamil Nadu's political scenario cites a bright prospect for AMMK and PMK – decisive in the upcoming election

In Tamil Nadu, forming an electoral alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha election has been difficult for every party as the leaders see each other as equal in the absence of two grand stalwarts – J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi. Despite how popular they were, both MG Ramachandran and Karunanidhi faced the elections only with an alliance. But Jayalalithaa changed that practice by facing the last general election without forming an alliance and won 37 seats, thereby making history. After her demise, the party stands divided. The leaders and functionaries are with the ruling AIADMK and the major chunk of the cadres are with AMMK under the leadership of TTV Dinakaran. Apart from the cadres of AIADMK, Dinakaran snatched away a huge youth force from many political parties.

A sizeable number of youngsters, without having any political background, inclined towards him by seeing his leadership qualities in facing all-round challenges from the Central government, state government, court, CBI, Enforcement Directorate and other political rivals. Hence, the media has come to the conclusion that he is going to emerge as a reckoning force in Tamil Nadu's political narrative. The youth who are fed up with the conventional politics of DMK, AIADMK and other small parties have joined AMMK. Even before the major parties started their election campaign, Dinakaran began his and pulled the crowd. As of now, there is no other crowd-pulling leader of his capacity.

One might conclude that men or women are hired by parties for their gatherings but in Dinakaran's meetings, a large number of youth groups could be seen. Moreover, his source of funds has been monitored by the government agencies and as a result, Dinakaran could not have been financially lenient in the mobilisation of people for his meetings. The Dinakaran factor has made every major party jittery and hence, they are in search of parties to form a formidable alliance. All the parties are having an eye on PMK as it has got a transferable vote share of 5 to 6 per cent. They are sending emissaries to PMK deeming that going to the elections alongside PMK is a winnable prospect.

But it is not so easy to manage PMK as it is guided by Dr Ramadoss, a seasoned politician who worked with both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi and has rich political experience. Though he headed a small party, he moved with both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi as a strong leader equal to them through his tough bargaining power. PMK is a glittering star which will be crucial during Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu. Hence, facing PMK and its founder Ramadoss will be a tough task for both DMK and the AIADMK. For him, both DMK and AIADMK are under his mercy this time. Vijayakant, an actor, once emerged as an alternative with 8 per cent vote share but disappeared from the scene. At one point of time, Rajini gave a voice against PMK in an election, but PMK emerged victoriously. Thus, PMK over time has emerged as a decisive factor.

In moving further to capture the centre stage, PMK wants to use this opportunity to form an alliance with a party which can liberally give it seats. Thus, PMK keeps everyone curious as to whom it is going to form an alliance with. Huge opportunities are in store for AMMK and PMK and it would not be so easy undermining them as both are pegged to play a crucial role in deciding the course of politics in Tamil Nadu.

(Dr G Palanithurai is a former Professor and Rajiv Gandhi Chair for Panchayati Raj Studies, Gandhigram Rural Institute. The views expressed are strictly personal)

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