CHENNAI: For a party that has witnessed elections for close to half a century, the DMK’s headquarters, Anna Arivalayam, wore a deserted look on Friday. None of the party’s top brass chose to make an appearance and the 50-odd cadre hanging around the building melted away by noon.
The handful of cadre who remained were more disappointed that none of their leaders showed up, than the worst defeat the party has ever seen. Party supremo M Karunanidhi, heir apparent M K Stalin, Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi stayed away in the face of the trouncing and chose to send statements from a safe distance.
Despite the fact that none of their candidates managed to secure leads, let alone victories, the gathered cadre were still hopeful of a turnaround. And when rumours of Dayanidhi Maran leading in Central Chennai came in around 11 am, smiles finally broke out. “It will turn around now,” declared a party functionary. Merely 15 minutes later, the rising hopes came crashing down as news came in that it was, in fact, the AIADMK that was leading by 2,000 votes.
By the time it was noon, hopes that their thalaivar might put in an appearance dwindled and disappointed cadre started leaving in ones and twos. Speaking in subdued voices, the topic that dominated conversation was not so much the washout, but the disappointment of not seeing the leaders. “If not this year, then the next time,” said one party worker. “It would have been good if I had seen the thalaivar though,” he said as he walked out.
‘Modi Sweep a Blessing’
It was a very dark cloud that blocked out the rising sun for the DMK as the results of the 16th Lok Sabha election continued to go overwhelmingly in favour of the AIADMK at the State level and the BJP at the national level. But even the dismal performance by the DMK, which failed to record even a close loss, meant this dark cloud came with a thin silver lining. Party leaders expressed happiness over the strong result for the BJP solely for one reason -- that the AIADMK would have no role to play in the new Union government.
While the top brass of the DMK went into a self-imposed exile from the media, it was up to some mid-level functionaries to comment on the most humiliating performances of the DMK.
“We would not have been able to bear to watch them (AIADMK) prance about in power both at the State and Centre,” said a middle-level DMK office bearer. “It is an unprecedented victory for them. But, it will be of no use in Delhi. For that much, we are thankful,” he added.
Another functionary however took on a more pragmatic and less vengeful tone. “It is a sad day for us indeed. The AIADMK has thumped us. It hurts, especially in light of the massive whack we received in the 2011 Assembly elections. If the AIADMK had also been in a position to take part in the Centre, it would have become increasingly difficult for us to rebuild our party. That way, it is a small boon,” said the functionary.