Chennai

MDMK, a party on a roller coaster ride

Few political parties would have suffered the kind of electoral reverses, political setbacks and high-level desertions as Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK). In the 22 years of its existence, the party has been written off after every Assembly election, but Mr. Vaiko has somehow managed to keep it afloat.

But the 2016 Assembly election, in which the party polled a dismal vote share of 0.9 per cent, losing in all the 29 seats it contested as part of the ambitious third front, has created doubts among critics over its potential to make a political comeback.

However, Mr Vaiko, who founded the party after being expelled from the DMK, is not pessimistic. “The party — from the leaders in the headquarters to the cadre at the grass-root level — is one in spirit when it comes to accepting the defeat,” he told The Hindu when asked whether the party cadres were not disheartened.

According to him, the leaders and cadres were only unable to reconcile themselves to the decision of the MDMK to stay away from the 2011 Assembly polls. But this time they were fully aware of the DMK’s “designs to destroy the party” and stood solidly behind the party leadership.

Though Mr. Vaiko put up a brave face on the electoral setback, saying his party cadres were solidly behind his leadership, it is clear that the MDMK is going through what could probably be the worst crisis in its history.

On the one hand, the two Dravidian majors—the DMK and the AIADMK—have proved that their support base has not eroded, and on the other hand, sub-regional parties squeezing for a space in the highly crowded Tamil Nadu politics are trying to elbow out the MDMK seeking political mobilisation on pan-Tamil identity.

Tamil issue

Though he is one of the few political leaders, who is highly articulate and up to date, Mr. Vaiko’s obsession for the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, particularly his support for the LTTE, does not help him politically. A few fringe groups are also claiming a space for themselves on a par with the MDMK.

But Mr. Vaiko does not mind. “We should keep in mind that the Sri Lankan Tamils groups took up arms only after the democratic means could not help them achieve their goals. Through a sustained and consistent campaign I am able to draw the world’s attention for a referendum to decide the future of the Sri Lankan Tamils,” he said.

Support base

The MDMK leader also dismissed the suggestion that his party’s support base is eroding. “No body can destroy us. We are gathering support. In fact, only the major political parties are in a crisis. What lies beneath their edifice is only a rotten structure. It will collapse,” he asserted.

Mr Vaiko said his first challenge was to fight corruption, which, he said, had broken the backbone of democracy in the State.

“People are also becoming corrupt. I do not blame the poor who accept money. The Election Commission should be given more teeth to disqualify immediately the candidates found distributing money for voters,” he said.



In the 22 years of its existence, party has been written off after every

Assembly election




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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 1:00:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/mdmk-a-party-on-a-roller-coaster-ride/article8669847.ece

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