Marriage and divorce are not
uncommon in general life and so is the case in the political
arena. The latest example of political breakup is from Tamil Nadu.
The parties involved are AIDMK and DMDK that had a pre poll
alliance and the post poll breakup. Tamil Nadu saw a regime change
in May 16, 2011, when the ruling DMK got a drubbing.
Shortly after assuming office as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, dumped her alliance partner actor
Vijayakant, the DMDK chief for the local body elections,
indicating that his usefulness was not needed beyond the Assembly
This was because the AIADMK party alone secured a simple majority
winning 150 seats and did not need the support of its coalition
partners to form the government.
Vijayakanth’s DMDK secured 29 seats, more than the 23 seats won by
the ruling DMK and opted to serve as the opposition party in the
It’s since then that the spat between AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha
and DMDK Chief Vijayakant started to surface. The two short fuse
personalities with huge egos made the state assembly as the battle
ground to score some brownie points.
In one such occasion the assembly witnessed heated exchange of
words between Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMDK chief
Vijayakanth. Both, confronting each other, over their political
bonding forged during the Assembly polls.
While Vijayakanth shot at Jayalalithaa that her party would not
have come to power in Tamil Nadu without the help of his party. To
this, Jayalalithaa slammed her former electoral partner, saying
she regretted "joining hands" with the DMDK for the assembly
The fiery argument broke out when a DMDK member criticized the
government for the bus fare and milk price hike. Both Jayalithaa
and Vijayakanth confronted each other and tempers ran high on the
floor of the house.
Vijayakanth told that the AIADMK had failed to win a single by
election when the DMK was in power; to this Jayalalithaa openly
challenged him to face her party in the forth coming by-polls
without any alliance.
In this exchange of words Vijayakant, the actor turned politicians
made some rude gestures at the Chief Minister that drew a strong
reaction from Jayalalithaa. She dubbed his act as "obnoxious."
This drama culminated in the eviction of all the members of the
DMDK, including Vijayakant. The matter was referred it to the
privilege committee that suspended and Vijayakanth from attending
the assembly session for 10 days.
The Jayalalithaa Vijayakant spat throw some important nuggets that
may have bearing on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. As these events
unfold, it may become the deciding factor in the government
formation on the national scene after the 2014 Lok Sabha
It’s obvious that the AIADMK will follow the go-it-alone policy,
maybe with a few minor allies who may not seek seats.
Jayalalithaa’s calculation is based on the fact that the anti-AIADMK
votes would get divided between the DMK-Congress and the DMDK.
However, her calculation may get upset if DMDK join the DMK
bandwagon after reaching an understanding with the Congress. In
that case, it could lead to the consolidation of the anti-AIADMK
Vijayakant knows that his party has ten percent share of votes in
Tamil Nadu and converting such votes into seats is only possible
through a strong alliance. And in such case DMK becomes its
However, the question is, will the DMK allow the DMDK in its fold?
On the surface, there may be smiles in the DMK camp because of the
AIADMK-DMDK split, but in real terms it faces a huge moral
The option before the DMK is either to take the DMDK in its folds
and forge a formidable front to take on the ruling AIADMK in the
Lok Sabha polls. The party is already stained in the spectrum scam
and bruised at the assembly poll; such a move alone can ensure a
respectable victory at the general election.
However, the DMK knows well what this would mean the party. In the
Assembly election the DMDK won 29 seats out of 41 it contested
only because the AIADMK alliance.
If the DMK- DMDK alliance materializes, it’s the DMDK that would
be benefitting and may corner few seats in the Lok Sabha. Will the
DMK allow this to happen?
If the answer is no, the DMK then have no other go to contest
against the DMDK. The party has to rework its way for the
recognition as the main campaigner against the AIADMK government.
Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha seats and in the 2009 general
election, DMK bagged 18 seats, AIADMK 9, the Congress 8, the MDMK,
CPM, CPI, VCK, one each.
The two dominant political formations the AIDMK and DMK always vie
for cornering maximum number of seats. This is because the numbers
makes a difference in the larger alliance formation at the
If the NDA has to form the government, then Jayalalithaa has to
deliver 20 plus seats, same holds true for the UPA- DMK alliance
to stay in course/
Its early days now but the contours of national politics are being
firmed up after the elections being held in the five states.
The BJP has already courting the AIADMK and several of its top
leaders have met the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for discussing
It’s probably the same alliance partners that would constitute the
NDA and UPA formations. The AIADMK, in the NDA and the DMK in the
UPA will be the pivots in that alliance.
There is also a tradition in Tamil Nadu that the assembly and Lok
sabha verdicts are always opposite. If that is the case, then it’s
the DMK that has the advantage over the AIADMK and by that token,
the UPA has an edge over the NDA.
In such backdrop it’s a difficult call for both the DMK and DMDK
to make. In all probability, Vijaykant may go alone or may get few
difficult seats, if he joins the DMK front.
The DMDK factor in Tamil politics has definitely come into the
reckoning with its supremo Vijayakant leading from the front and
definitely has hi eyes set on Lok Sabha elections as well. As
there is still lot of time left for the next general elections one
has to watch how this story plays itself out.
Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at