Tamil Nadu

Bonding after seven years of bitter rivalry

The ruling AIADMK and the DMDK have come together to face the Lok Sabha election on a common platform after seven years of bitter rivalry.

They contested the 2011 elections together and swept the polls, securing the DMDK the prestigious position of the principal Opposition party in the Assembly.

The relationship, however, strained within months, and the parties parted ways even before the local body elections were held. In February 2012, then AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa even went to the extent of saying that she was ashamed of having an alliance with the DMDK and for making its chief (Vijayakant), who “did not have the qualification”, the Leader of the Opposition.

Jaya’s challenge

“The DMDK could win these many seats and become the Opposition party only because it aligned with the AIADMK. It could not have won a single seat if it had not aligned with the AIADMK,” she said during a debate in the Assembly after Mr. Vijayakant lashed out at the ruling party.

When the Assembly met after the local body polls in 2011, DMDK member V.C. Chandrakumar (now in the DMK) remarked that the ruling party could not have fared well if it had increased the bus fare and the price of milk before the elections.

This led to Jayalalithaa challenging the DMDK to contest alone in the Sankarankoil byelection, which was due at the time.

Mr. Vijayakant responded saying the ruling party had always won the byelections, and noted that the AIADMK was not able to win any bypoll when the DMK was in power.

Jayalalithaa said Mr. Vijayakant’s argument amounted to admitting defeat even before the election date was announced.

At one point, the debate veered into a slanging match, and Mr. Vijayakant entered into a spat with members of the ruling party and gesturing violently. This prompted Jayalalithaa to launch a diatribe against him and declare that the DMDK’s downslide had begun. Thereafter, many DMDK legislators, including Panruti S. Ramachandran and Ma Foi K. Pandiarajan (now a Minister), identified themselves with the AIADMK.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 2:57:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/bonding-after-seven-years-of-bitter-rivalry/article26489873.ece

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