DMDK leaves AIADMK alliance over seat-sharing differences, to decide way forward tomorrow even as Kamal Haasan invites it to his grouping

Published : March 09, 2021 16:36 IST

DMDK president Vijayakanth (third from left), along with party leaders, addressing a meeting of party district secretaries on March 9. Photo: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Angered by the offer of “a meager number of seats” by the All India Anna Dravida Munentra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) announced on March 9 that it was walking out the AIADMK-led alliance for the Assembly election scheduled for April 6.

The DMDK will decide on the future course of action by March 10, the party said. On hearing the news of the break in alliance, actor Kamal Haasan invited the DMDK to be a part of the alliance led by his party, the Makkal Needi Maiam.

DMDK founder Vijayakanth’s brother-in-law L.K. Susheesh alleged that the AIADMK’s senior functionary K.P. Munusamy was operating on behalf of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). The DMDK’s grouse was that it was allotted fewer seats than the PMK. After the party’s meeting of district secretaries and senior leaders, Sudheesh told presspersons at the party headquarters: “We will ensure that AIADMK candidates lose their deposits in all constituencies.” On hearing the news,, DMDK cadre burst crackers and danced, welcoming the decision to leave the alliance instead of swallowing the “humiliation” and staying on.

Vijaykanth’s son Vijaya Prabhakaran said, “What is this talk of 10 seats, 15 seats, 13 seats? Captain [Vijaykant] is not well. But he has not quit politics…. I will also be in the field with you.” He warned the AIADMK government that the party will face dire consequences. “If you don’t give us the seats we asked for, we will ensure that you will lose in all constituencies…. So far, you have seen Captain and then Premalatha. Now you will see them in unison,” he said.

B. Parthasarathy, DMDK joint secretary, said that the DMDK asked for 23 seats. The offer from the AIADMK side did not match the expectations of the party. The highest the DMDK was offered was 13, one source said.

The AIADMK and DMDK leaders held three rounds of discussions over the past 10 days, but the DMDK refused to climb down on its demand, an AIADMK leader said. Minister D. Jayakumar described the DMDK’s decision as “unfortunate,” but claimed that it was the “DMDK’s loss”. He warned the party leadership against using “unparliamentary and unnecessary words against AIADMK leaders”.

DMDK has cadre all over the State, though its vote share has dropped in the period from 2006 when it first contested elections to 2019, in the Lok Sabha election, mainly because of the ill-health of Vijayakanth.

In 2011, the party was initially unhappy with the offer of Assembly seats from the AIADMK, and announced that it would contest the election on its own. But the party returned to the AIADMK front and won 29 of the 41 seats it contested. The DMDK’s biggest achievement was that it managed to win more seats than the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and its leader, Vijayakant occupied the seat of Leader of the Opposition.

In 2016, too, the party claimed that it would go it alone, but then became the nucleus for the formation of the Makkal Nala Koottani (People’s Welfare Alliance). This alliance ensured the victory of the AIADMK in a closely fought election.