The question is whether AIADMK bid to project as alternative to Congress, BJP will translate into votes

By coming down heavily both on the Congress and the BJP on the ground that they were completely against the interests of Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa has indicated that she might maintain equidistance from the two national parties in the next Lok Sabha polls.

She wants a central regime that would have an ear for Tamil Nadu and argues that such a government can be installed only if the AIADMK sweeps the Lok Sabha polls and bags all the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone one in Puducherry.

Her speech at a mass wedding of 65 couples echoed similar remarks she had made last year, exhorting her cadre to work for a total sweep. Her stand may mean that she is unlikely to encourage one of the national parties, in contrast to her earlier invitations to the Congress in 2009 to dump the DMK and join hands with her. But it failed to fructify.

Later, she asked the Congress to jettison the DMK from the UPA in the wake of 2G scam and offered to compensate for the consequent loss of numbers in the Lok Sabha. This also cut no ice with the Congress.

Even though she is quite close to BJP and its probable Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Ms. Jayalalithaa is fully aware that an alliance with the BJP, which has no strong base in the State, is unlikely to benefit her party. On the contrary, it may only result in losing the backing of the minorities. She had won back their support after alienating them through the anti-conversion bill of her previous regime. But what is not clear is whether she can win the elections on her own since the dynamics of Lok Sabha elections totally differ from the contours of the Assembly poll scene. It is also not sure whether her projection of the AIADMK as an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP would translate into votes if she fails to identify a combination that will come to power. Further, the possibility of the DMK piecing together an alliance could make going it alone a risk for her.

The DMK-Congress combination has survived many a crisis in the recent past, and it may hold good for the next election too. Political sources say the Congress is in touch with Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), led by actor Vijayakant, and hopes to rope in the party into their alliance.

While Mr. Vijayakant is no great admirer of the DMK, the AIADMK’s attitude towards the party may get him to reconsider his decision. In such an eventuality, the AIADMK may be forced to ponder whether it can go it alone.

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