Some favour tie-up with Congress
Most DMK aspirants for the Lok Sabha polls have told the party high command that it will be easy for them if there is an alliance with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by actor Vijayakant. Only a couple of candidates preferred an alliance with the Congress.
However, they have also made it clear that they could still win the polls without the DMDK and the Congress, if the party worked hard and ensured cohesiveness among its existing allies.
Besides the two Dalit parties – Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi and Puthiya Tamizhagam – the two Muslim outfits – Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) and the Indian Union Muslim League – are part of the DMK alliance.
Almost all candidates felt that an alliance with the DMDK would be useful. But they were confident of winning the elections even without the party, said a senior leader.
Around 900 partymen have sought tickets and the party leadership completed interviews for 29 constituencies till Tuesday. Interviews for Chennai constituencies will be held on March 3.
The aspirants’ choice of alliance is based on the strength of the political parties in their turf. In the beginning a few candidates, particularly from the southern districts, favoured an alliance with the Congress on the ground that the party had vote bank in certain constituencies.
“But the Congress’ stand on commutation of death sentence to convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and their release has made the party become unpopular,” said another leader, who is part of the DMK team interviewing the candidates.
Another reason for the aspirants taking a stand against the Congress is that they are aware of party treasurer M.K. Stalin’s antipathy towards the Congress. He is on the panel of the interviewers along with party president M. Karunanidhi, general secretary K. Anbazhagan, deputy general secretary Duraimurugan and organising secretaries T.K.S. Elangovan and M. Kalyanasundaram.
While the sitting MPs prefer to contest from their own constituencies, former Union Minister T.R. Baalu wants to enter the fray from Thanjavur constituency, now held by another former minister S.S. Palanimanickam. Another former Minister A. Raja has applied for a ticket to contest from the Nilgiris (reserved) constituency, he won in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
“In fact we have received a lot of application for the Nilgiris since it is the only reserved constituency in the western belt of Tamil Nadu,” the DMK leader said.
As far as the alliance partners are concerned, the VCK was allotted Chidambaram and Villupuram reserved constituencies in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and party leader Thol. Thirumavalavan won from Chidambaram. Besides the two constituencies, Kancheepuram (reserved) constituency is in the VCK wish-list. Puthiya Tamizhagam is eyeing the Tenkasi reserved constituency and the MMK is keen on Ramanathapuram and Mayiladuthurai constituencies. The IUML would like to retain the Vellore constituency.