CHENNAI: With the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections less than a year away, smaller parties in the State led by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and CPI are seeking to drive a hard bargain by pitching for a coalition arrangement as a pre-condition to strike an alliance with major parties. This stance has come as a surprise to political watchers in a State that has since 1967 seen either of the Dravidian parties rule by rotation by riding on the strength of rainbow coalitions.
Hitherto, parties which do not command a dominant vote share have been happy riding piggyback on the DMK and AIADMK. They settled for a seat sharing arrangement with no conditions attached on sharing of power in the eventuality of the alliance forming the Government.
However, having realised that merely winning a few MLA seats on the strength of an alliance does no good to his lot, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan is now mooting a coalition arrangement as a precondition for holding alliance talks with any party. “In the present political context, the marginalised sections of people — Dalits, tribals and minorities — have no say in policy making. Since parties representing these sections cannot win power by themselves, I believe a coalition Government will be the only way for their empowerment,” Thirumavalavan told Express.
According to him, only a coalition arrangement would eradicate “the evil of family rule and autocracy.” He reasoned that the fruits of development would percolate to the oppressed sections only through devolution of power, which is not possible in a single-party governance system.
“Though in a coalition questions would arise over stability of a Government, I feel democracy is more vital than stability. A common minimum programme will reduce friction between partners and stop the dominant party from dictating the whole Government agenda, ignoring the policies and programmes of others,” Thirumavalavan contended.
Endorsing, the VCK leader’s demand, CPI State secretary R Mutharasan argued that an alliance formed by a major party to win power alone would not ensure a good Government. “It should have a common minimum programme based on policies for people’s welfare. Coalition Governments have been stable and yielded good results in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura,” he argued. While agreeing that coalition Governments would bring power closer to the weaker sections and improve the health of democracy, political analyst Govi Lenin felt that ground realities may not be conducive for its fulfillment. “The two major Dravidian parties, between themselves share about 60 to 65 per cent of the vote share. Even if all other parties come together, it will be hard to win sizeable number of seats,” he pointed out.
Therefore, the fulfillment of the idea of a coalition in Tamil Nadu will depend on the willingness of the two parties, who will certainly be averse to the proposal. “Nonetheless, I am sure the demand for a coalition as a precondition for alliance will put pressure on the DMK while the AIADMK will not be worried about it,” he concluded.
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