CHENNAI/MADURAI:With AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa recapturing the chief minister’s throne, clouds of suspicions loom over the minds of DMK functionaries and cadre over the likely final attempt of the 92-year-old DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi to win the St George Fort and hand over the reins of power to his heir and party treasurer M K Stalin.
Desperation shows high in DMK’s every move and the party is leaving no stone unturned to find new friends as the DMK does not have a chance without forming a mega alliance to stop the Jayalalithaa juggernaut from rolling over it again. Besides, political functions, even marriages in Karunanidhi’s family, are being used to break the ice with other leaders and gauge their minds for a possible alliance.
With a bunch of wedding invitations, Stalin is knocking at the doors of all Opposition parties asking them to participate in the wedding of his younger brother M K Thamizharasu’s son Arulnidhi next month. The marriage diplomacy is being keenly watched in political circles and the reaction of Stalin after meeting every leader is observed carefully to evaluate the results.
According to DMDK circles, the meeting with party leader Vijayakanth did not make much headway as the latter is said to be very upset with Jayalalithaa’s comeback. The meeting with PMK youth wing leader too turned out to be disappointing and very formal with both leaders stressing that no politics was discussed between them. “A healthy meeting should not be politicised. We have already conveyed our political stand,” said PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss indicating that the PMK was committed to leading an alliance for the forthcoming Assembly elections and would not have ties with the DMK.
Even the TNCC president EVKS Elangovan did not come out with anything outright on the alliance issue and said it would be decided at the election time. Stalin did not spare BJP leader Subramanian Swamy either. When asked if an alliance between the BJP and DMK was possible due to the meeting, Swamy said, “The policy of the BJP is Hindutva and its renaissance. The policies of the BJP and DMK are not the same.”
The only meeting that brought cheer to the DMK was that with MDMK leader Vaiko. Immediately after the meeting, Stalin said, “The chances of the opposition parties forming an alliance in Tamil Nadu is bright and it will be visible as the election approaches.” To this MDMK leader Vaiko commented, “We were together for several years. I consider Stalin’s visit to my home to give the invitation as a honour.” However, Vaiko too did not commit himself for a political alliance and did not speak about it. The DMK which is on the receiving end of scathing criticism from Tamil nationalist outfits on issues of Sri Lankan Tamils, Mullaiperiyar dispute and similar problems is likely to win a credible shield, if it persuades Vaiko to join hands with it.
Besides, lack of success in winning allies, election funds seem to be another major worry as senior DMK leaders had strongly registered their objection against the high command’s decision on collecting election fund to face the forthcoming assembly election. “If Karunanidhi decides money is the only criteria to face the elections, then they can very well nominate crorepatis to contest in the election,” said a senior DMK leader. Some senior leaders have openly told Kalaignar that besides discouraging the party functionaries, asking for election funds is also making the DMK unpopular among the people. Instead, they asked the high command to spend the money from the party treasurer to meet the election expenditure.
Some senior party district secretaries also pointed out that around `105 crore were collected as election fund to face the last parliamentary election, but the DMK failed to win a single seat in the election.
Despite objections, many of the sympathisers will definitely contribute for the election fund, but not with the intention that DMK will win the election. “But merely because they need our support to face local problems particularly in police cases,” said a senior DMK leader. The problems for the DMK are likely to multiply, once Jayalalithaa launches more welfare schemes and development projects, to bring back the same momentum that was visible before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections which was swept by the AIADMK.