The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Saturday staved off a crisis involving one of its key allies, the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK), by offering one more Lok Sabha (LS) seat to the Dalit party after protests erupted against the DMK’s earlier decision to share just one seat for the coming Lok Sabha election.
While it looked almost certain that a miffed VCK would walk out on the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu, party treasurer M.K. Stalin’s timely intervention helped to retain the Dalit party in the alliance.
The VCK has now been allotted the Tiruvallur constituency in addition to Chidambaram, a reserved constituency that elected VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Hours before the meeting of the VCK’s district secretaries taking the extreme step of quitting the front, Mr Stalin called Thirumavalavan, requesting him to visit Anna Arivalayam to sign the agreement for the Tiruvallur (reserved) constituency.
The Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) leader K. Veeramani, also played a role in retaining the VCK in the DMK-fold.
Differences during the seat-sharing talks cropped up, as the DMK’s Villupuram district secretary, K Ponmudi resisted allotting the Chidambaram seat to the VCK this time.
Sources privy to the talks said that the VCK was ‘angered’ at the DMK’s bid to treat the party as merely a caste outfit. But wiser counsel prevailed on both sides to seal the deal.
“Our leader was flooded with phone calls from partymen across the State, questioning why he had settled for a single seat. They wanted us to leave the alliance,” said a senior VCK leader.
In many other places in Tamil Nadu, the VCK cadres tore down flag posts of both parties in disgust.
The VCK leaders wondered how the DMK leadership could treat the Dalit party on a par with smaller parties when the former’s vote share was substantial.