In 2006, it won a single seat in Assembly election
In what is one of his most famous, even parodied, dialogues, hero Vijayakant in the film Ramana reels off an impressive set of statistics tasking the government on discharging its duties. On Friday, the 13th of May, the people of Tamil Nadu delivered to the politician Vijayakant, a chance to finally do it in real life.
In the film, Vijayakant as Ramana forms an Anti-Corruption Force to compensate for the government's inability to tackle the evil. In a press conference he held impromptu after the leads showed the AIADMK alliance marching to certain victory, Vijayakant said, “They [the DMK] thought money power would win them votes. They have been proven wrong.” He might as well have been delivering the final dialogue after thumping the baddies.
Mr. Vijayakant, himself though, has exhibited far from ‘heroic' qualities in public life. During the election campaign, he was mercilessly taunted by comedian Vadivelu who campaigned for the DMK. His critics piled on him several allegations, prominent among them – a tendency to physically abuse partymen and a fondness for the bottle. Ultimately, at the hustings, none of this seemed to have mattered.
In what is possibly the fastest growth of a non-DMK/AIADMK party, Mr. Vijayakant's Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazahagam (DMDK), formed in 2005, won more seats than even the ruling DMK in only the second Assembly elections the party contested.
In 2006, the DMDK contested its first Assembly elections and won a single seat. Voters sent only the party's founder to the Tamil Nadu Legislature. On the whole, the DMDK had managed to garner about 8 per cent of total votes polled. Unexpectedly, Vijayakant had become a force to reckon with in the State.
In the subsequent Lok Sabha Polls of 2009, the party contested all the 39 seats and lost all of them. However, it had polled about 10 per cent of votes cast.
An Assembly-segment wise analysis of that performance showed that the DMDK had sufficient votes to swing the result in favour of any party it was in alliance with. According to a report in The Hindu on March 2, the DMDK's votes were higher than the margin between the winner and runner in a total of 135 Assembly segments.
In the face of this hard evidence, there were still doubts.
The party had secured a substantial portion of the votes, political analysts argued, as it had posited itself as an alternative (third party) to the DMK and the AIADMK. Would it retain this advantage if it were to ally itself with one of these parties?
Once again, his detractors have been proven wrong. While it is imperative to wait for more detailed figures to comment on the constituencies in which the DMDK have managed to provide a decisive margin, it is already clear that the party, the main partner of the AIADMK alliance, has vastly improved its own performance by winning 29 seats out of the 41 seats contested.
Until the 2011 Assembly elections, it was believed in Tamil Nadu, that it was the Congress that would be the decisive alliance partner. With a mere five seats to its credit, the Congress has clearly lost that position. Has DMDK usurped it?
During his press conference, Mr. Vijayakant continued to maintain his original stance that the party would not demand a role in the government.
With 29 members, he could choose to be the main Opposition party in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. It remains to be seen if he will indeed utilise this opportunity to be a just critic of the government in real life.