CHENNAI: As a party with transferable votes, it was wooed, election after election. Its political obstinacy was accommodated, however grudgingly. Now though, after suffering ignominious defeats in successive polls, the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the party of the Vanniyars, is finding itself on a lonely path.
For years, party founder S Ramadoss had prided for being the weathervane of electoral winds, claiming that the coalition that it aligned with would always emerge as the winning one. But as the electorate got further splintered in the recent years, it now is the DMDK that has come to become the ‘influential minority’ in the electoral politics in Tamil Nadu, much to the chagrin of the PMK leadership that has had pitched battle with the relative newcomer over the years.
For over a year, the party has been on campaign with its founder S Ramadoss’s son Anbumani Ramadoss as the CM candidate. Last November, ahead of announcing Anbumani as the party’s CM candidate, the PMK executive committee declared that “ending the AIADMK and DMK regimes that have been in the saddle of power since 1967 is the party’s goal”.
It invited seven parties including Indiya Jananayaka Katchi, Kongu Makkal Desiya Katchi, Puthiya Tamilagam, and Gandhiya Makkal Katchi to join together to form a political front headed by the PMK. That front is yet to materialise.
“We are very happy about the increasing support for the PMK. A considerable chunk - around 35 per cent of voters who do not turn up for polling booth will be casting their votes this time, as they are longing for a change. When we have the support of the people, why should we bother about an alliance?” defended party president GK Mani.He said Anbumani has been meeting people in every nook and corner of the State for more than a year, capturing the imagination of youth with solutions for prevailing issues. Anbumani, too, has been maintaining that alliances are not a worrying factor: “Vanthaal mahilzhchi. Varaavittaal mikka makilchi” (Happy if any party comes to PMK; if not, we will be happier).”
The PMK was an uneasy partner with the DMDK during the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014. That has now fallen apart, one of the reasons being both parties are targeting northern Tamil Nadu, the region that PMK considers its home turf.
Meanwhile, the party managed to retain its symbol - the ‘Mango’, for this election. GK Mani called on the CEO, Rajesh Lakhoni on Thursday and received the communication from Election Commission.