DMDK says it will keep its distance from both AINRC and PMK

The National Democratic Alliance in Puducherry suffered a setback on Saturday, with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam deciding to keep its distance from both the All India N.R. Congress and the Pattali Makkal Katchi.

R. Selvaraj, DMDK organiser in Puducherry, said he received a communication from the high command that both the AINRC and the PMK should not use the name of party leader Vijaykanth and party flags in their campaign, as both were seeking the DMDK’s support. The decision, aimed at avoiding confusion among the party cadre and sympathisers, was communicated to the AINRC and the PMK.

The announcement came on a day when both AINRC candidate R. Radhakrishnan and PMK candidate R.K.R. Anantharaman filed nominations for the Puducherry Lok Sabha constituency. Both parties claim they are fighting the elections under the NDA banner. However, the BJP, which has put together an alliance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, maintains that the Puducherry seat was allocated to the AINRC. But the PMK disputes this. The BJP extends full support to the AINRC candidate and has started campaigning for him.

Analysts feel the NDA in Puducherry has been facing an embarrassing situation as the BJP, which is responsible for resolving the issue, has failed to bring the AINRC and the PMK together for talks. They say the NDA has disintegrated in Puducherry.

Asked about the DMDK’s decision, AINRC general secretary V. Bhalan told The Hindu that the party had sought the support of all NDA partners. However, except the BJP, the others had not announced their decision. Hence the AINRC was avoiding their flags and names.

BJP president S. Visweswaran said the chances of persuading the PMK to pull out of the race appeared remote. However, efforts were being made to find a solution before the last day of withdrawal of nominations. Whatever might be the outcome, he said, the AINRC-BJP combine would conduct an intense campaign as it was capable of “reaching out to all voters.”