With the Assembly election approaching, allies of the DMK are upping their ante, one by one, in their demand for seats and the right to contest on their own symbols.
MDMK general secretary Vaiko and Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) president Thol. Thirumavalavan have already expressed their desire to contest on their own symbols.
Besides, India Jananayaga Katchi (IJK) president Ravi Patchamuthu has demanded six seats for his party. If denied, he said his party would field candidates in all the 234 constituencies.
Commenting on the demands, a senior DMK leader said, “There is nothing wrong in a party’s wish to contest on its own symbol. But it is too early to make a decision on the issue and the allocation of seats.”
He pointed out that IJK founder Paarivendhar had contested and won on the DMK’s ‘Rising sun’ symbol in Perambalur in the last Lok Sabha polls.
“But the demand for six seats in the Assembly is too much. They may have money, but where is the base and votes?” another DMK leader asked.
DMK leaders agreed that it was quite normal for parties to air their demands openly to keep their supporters in good spirit.
“MDMK candidate Ganesamurthy contested on the DMK symbol in the Lok Sabha polls. In the VCK, Ravikumar contested on our symbol. Only Mr. Thirumavalavan opted for his own symbol,” a DMK MP said.
Even assuming that this was just posturing, the IJK’s demand was unrealistic, he said. “If we part with six seats for the IJK, we have to give the two Communist parties 15 each and the Congress up to 40. We cannot afford to allot so many seats, as we are particular about the DMK contesting in a good number of them,” he said.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, the Congress was re-included in the DMK alliance and allotted 41 seats, but it won only in eight.
The two Communist parties and the MDMK contested as part of the People’s Welfare Front, led by actor Vijayakant’s DMDK. But the alliance came a cropper.