CHENNAI: Trying to break the image of a party confined to its traditional northern strongholds, the PMK has set its sight on expanding its base with a conscious and determined push in the South. As part of this grandiose project, party’s youth wing leader and former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss led a protest demonstration at Kovilpatti on Monday.
However, political analysts are sceptical about the PMK’s success in regions other than the north and north-western districts.
Countering suggestions of the PMK’s sphere of influence being restricted to the northern districts, where Vanniyar community is numerically dominant, its spokesperson K Balu asserted that the party would field candidates in all the regions of the State. “See, the issues we take up are applicable throughout Tamil Nadu. The party has a presence in all parts of the State. In fact, when a protest or any other programme is announced by the leadership, it is held in all the districts be they in the south, east or west, besides the north”, he explained.
“We are organising our zonal conference in Coimbatore on July 12 and expect it to be a big show of strength. Everyone will be amazed at the gathering. Besides, the PMK will organise a conference in Madurai, followed by another one at Tirunelveli”, he said. In the 1991 and 1996 Assembly elections, the party has crossed ten per cent votes in Dharmapuri, Salem, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore and Vellore districts.
It’s presence was negligible in the southern and western districts as well as the delta districts except Nagappattinam. Having declared to head a front for the forthcoming Assembly elections, the PMK could put up a strong fight in about 50 to 60 constituencies going by their previous electoral performance. For carrying the battle throughout the State, it should have a marked presence in all parts of the State.
The PMK had made a similar attempt in the early 90s, but dropped the move later. Party founder S Ramadoss initiated a move to bring together all the backward community organisations and forge a front before the 2014 LS elections, but joined the BJP front at the eleventh hour. Now, the party has planned programmes to expand its base beyond its traditional stronghold.