The birth of new alliances in Tamil Nadu this election once again proves that politicians don’t hesitate to find strange bedfellows at will. Ever since smaller regional parties began to flaunt their distinct vote banks in 1998, ideology has taken a backseat during polls.
The PMK, which consolidated its base in the Vanniyars belt in the north and north-west regions has the reputation of hopping camps almost in every election since 1998, barring the 2006 Assembly election when it remained in the DMK camp.
While in 1998, it fought the LS election in the company of the AIADMK, the very next year it hopped on to the DMK alliance. Within two years, it exited and forged ties again with the AIADMK for the 2001 Assembly election. Three years later it was back with the DMK. And all of these switches paid off, prompting its founder S Ramadoss to declare that any alliance the PMK was a constituent of would turn out to be a winning combination.
However, in 2009, when the party joined hands with the AIADMK, its candidates were routed in all six constituencies. In 2011, the party returned to the DMK fold to face the Assembly elections, ignoring the fact that it had given zero marks to the DMK government. Now, it is in the NDA.
“It is unfair to single us out for switching alliances. Every other party has changed its alliance partners during the same period, be it the DMK, AIADMK or even the Left parties. These depend on circumstances,” a senior PMK leader said requesting anonymity.
Most alliances don’t last beyond elections unless the constituents get to share power. “Post-victory we have to give importance to our ideologies. This leads to bitterness and sometimes exit,” a leader said.