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RS polls exposed chinks in armour of DMDK strategy

B. Kolappan
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: For the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), the loss of its lone candidate in the Rajya Sabha election in Tamil Nadu indicates that the party’s political strategy was not up to the mark.

For a party that made a significant impact within a short span after its launch in 2005, and one with 29 members in the Assembly, the RS poll scene should have held some exciting possibilities.

However, the party led by actor Vijayakanth now stands isolated, while his friends, Left parties, and foes, AIADMK and the DMK, are able to find company for themselves for the Lok Sabha polls due next year.

All he can do is point an accusing finger at the Congress for not backing him after apparently making an initial promise of support in the RS polls, but he should have calculated that the DMK, an erstwhile ally of the Congress and a party with larger voter base, would eventually win the national party’s favour.

He could have joined hands with the Left parties, because he faced the local body elections in the CPI(M)’s company. Mr Vijayakant always had reservations about supporting the CPI, as he saw the party has been a friend of the ruling AIADMK.

The outcome of the elections became fairly clear when Chief Minister Jayalalithaa withdrew one of her party candidates in favour of the CPI. The DMDK could have opted out of the race. Its decision to seek Congress support was equally surprising because he had always been a bitter critic of the UPA government at the Centre. He also maintained little rapport with small parties such as the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Puthiya Tamizhagam, former allies of the AIADMK, but which backed DMK’s Kanimozhi.

A confident, actor-turned-politician, Vijayakant always spoke dismissively about electoral alliances and failed to work with the rest of the opposition in the Assembly even when he was completely cornered by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Even while seeking the support of the Congress, he sent emissaries rather than approach senior leaders in Delhi personally.

Even when seven of his MLAs left him, he said he would not bother even if the ruling party poached all his 29 MLAs. However, barring a letter to all legislators elected on his party ticket, he made no effort to get back the confidence of these seven MLAs.

Though he did so with a lot of hesitation, his decision to join hands with the AIADMK helped him politically and the DMDK became the main opposition party, pushing the DMK to the third place. He achieved what other parties and leaders vying for the principal opposition slot could not achieve. Yet, in the run-up to the RS polls, he was not seen as a rallying force for the opposition, as leaders of most parties found him intractable or not easily approachable.

He was not seen as a rallying force for the opposition, as he was found intractable


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