“There was no way we could have got more seats than the DMK if we aligned with them”
The 2016 Assembly election and the prospect of projecting its leader Vijayakant as a Chief Ministerial candidate was a major reason that swung the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) away from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) fold.
Sources in the DMDK indicated on Friday that opinion within the party differed on the matter of alliances over the last month.
While Mr. Vijayakant took a neutral stand and decided to open parleys with both the DMK and the BJP by early January, his wife Premalatha was decisively against a truck with the DMK.
According to a party MLA, who spoke on condition of anonymity, two arguments were stacked against a pact with the DMK.
Firstly, the pro-BJP faction stressed that it was imperative for the DMDK to remain the largest party of any alliance to project itself as a viable alternative in Tamil Nadu for 2016.
This was also necessary, the faction argued, to ensure that the post-2011 Assembly election scenario, when the DMDK was unceremoniously exited from the AIADMK front, does not recur.
“Whatever said and done, the way we ended our relationship with the AIADMK did make a dent in our reputation. This happened because the AIADMK was the dominant partner and did not need our support after the polls,” the MLA said.
Secondly, Mr. Vijayakant had time and again, including at the party’s recent conference, declared that he wished to be projected as a Chief Minister candidate for the 2016 elections. An alliance with the DMK, where its treasurer M.K. Stalin too harboured such aspirations, would not help Mr. Vijayakant’s cause, a party functionary said.
“There was no way we could have got more seats than the DMK if we aligned with them. We felt accepting DMK’s leadership at the moment is tantamount to agreeing to Mr. Stalin’s leadership. This will not help us,” he added.
The pro-DMK faction though contended that even a four-party alliance on the BJP side may not give the DMDK a decisive vote share to win considerable number of seats.
“Despite the talk of a Narendra Modi wave, we still felt we had better chances of winning seats in the DMK front. If we aspire to win 2016, it was necessary not to lose momentum,” another MLA pointed out.
However, sources said after much persuasion, both Ms. Premalatha and Mr. Vijayakant took a view that the DMK could be entertained if it accepted to have the Congress in the larger alliance. But this did not transpire.