‘Blow hot, blow cold’ is how one could describe the relationship Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) has had with the BJP over the years.
While local factors have always played a part in the way the party had dealt with the BJP, resolutions passed by the Dravidian party at its Virudhunagar conference, on Sunday, clearly indicate it might not be averse to moving close to the saffron party ahead Lok Sabha polls.
The primary resolution passed at the conference was to ensure a “strategy” to defeat the “corrupt, Congress-led UPA government” at the Centre. However, unlike in 2004, when the party declared it would “never again align with the NDA”, there was no mention of the BJP whatsoever in its resolutions.
Sources in BJP told Express that the State leadership looked at Vaiko as the most probable alliance partner in Tamil Nadu, given that the two parties are almost on a similar ground as far as attracting allies was concerned.
“The AIADMK has said it wouldn’t align with anyone. Vaiko is certain on not going to the Congress or the DMK given his stand on the Sri Lankan issue. So we are hopeful that the MDMK would be okay about aligning with us. It would be a big boost,” said a senior leader.
The MDMK was part of the NDA in 1999, when Vaiko famously hailed former prime minister A B Vajpayee as the tallest leader of the country. Despite DMK being strict with seat sharing and not bending to the MDMK’s demands of six seats, Vaiko decided to stick with the BJP and settled down for five constituencies.
In 2004, however, in the backdrop of Vaiko’s arrest under POTA, and the subsequent alliance of the BJP with the AIADMK, the party decided to sever ties with the NDA and joined hands with the Congress. But it came back to the AIADMK fold in 2009 as part of the third front and contested four seats.
A senior MDMK leader told Express that a pre-poll alliance with the BJP would be strategic, given the prevalent anti-Congress mood among voters.
“BJP leaders have also lent their support to our protests on the Sri Lankan issue in New Delhi and elsewhere. Senior leaders in fact participated in the 2011 protest. They also stridently lent their voice for the cause in Parliament,” said the MDMK functionary and admitted that the party cannot afford to be out of the fray in the Lok Sabha polls, given that it boycotted the last Assembly elections.
However, the leader admitted that the elevation of Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate could be an issue. “In 2004, we came out criticising the Hindutva agenda of the BJP. We would have to see how this goes,” he said.