ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Shifting Allegiances

The arithmetic of the vote share is all that matters in the making of political alliances in Tamil Nadu.

In the run-up to the 15th Lok Sabha elections, yet another round of switching of allegiances, alliance building and seat sharing has taken place, as has been the norm for the past few (state- and national-level) elections in Tamil Nadu. The breaking away of the left parties and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) from the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), which includes the Congress, has changed the political “equations” in the state. The opposition All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has now become the new lynchpin for a “grand alliance” that includes the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), apart from the aforementioned parties.

What drove the left parties to the AIADMK-led front was their overall strategy of forming a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), non-Congress government at the centre; with such a stance, they could not have been a part of any alliance that included the Congress Party. As for the PMK, the party purportedly representing the Vanniyars, its propensity to give a damn to considerations of political affinity and go solely by which way the political wind is blowing (joining the alliance which is most expected to win) led it to favour the AIADMK alliance. In this it was aided by the uncomfortable relationship it held with the DMK over the past year, despite being part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the centre. The MDMK had already joined hands with the AIADMK before the 2006 elections. Only the more recently formed outfit, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, led by actor Vijayakanth, has decided to go it alone.

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