Chennai, May 6: A DMK decision to boycott an upcoming Assembly by-election is being seen by many as part of a plan to forge a Tamil Nadu alliance for the 2014 general election that will not include the Congress.
While nothing is certain and the polls are two years away, DMK sources said the party was “preparing the ground” for the possibility that it may have to look beyond a “weakened” Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Boycotting the June 12 bypoll for Pudukottai, 300km from here, will leave the DMK free to declare its support for actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK, which could be the only major party left in the fray to take on the ruling AIADMK.
The two communist parties, which had contested the previous Lok Sabha polls as Jayalalithaa’s allies, too are staying away from the bypoll and chances are that they might back Vijayakanth’s candidate.
The CPI is miffed with Jayalalithaa for not allotting the Pudukottai seat to it even though the party had won it in 2011 as part of her front and the bypoll was necessitated by the death of its sitting MLA.
Therefore, the battle could see Jayalalithaa’s party taking on DMDK backed by the DMK, CPI, CPM and even the Congress, which has had a traditional base in the central Tamil Nadu town.
Karunanidhi apparently hopes this anti-Jayalalithaa collection can be formalised ahead of the Lok Sabha polls but minus the Congress, since its presence would deter the two Left parties.
“Our leader has rekindled the Eelam demand knowing the Congress would never support it, and may use it as an excuse to exit the UPA,” a senior DMK lawmaker said. “Similarly, by backing Vijayakanth, we would have prepared the ground to woo the actor into our front. Without the Congress, we would have more seats to distribute among the DMDK, CPM and the CPI.”
On Saturday, though, Karunanidhi played the good Congress ally by inviting the media to his home and announcing that his party would back Pranab Mukherjee if he was the UPA’s presidential candidate.
DMK leaders believe that the Congress could be at its weakest ahead of the general election, especially if it fails to stop Narendra Modi from winning in Gujarat again this year. “So, it is better to prepare the ground to face the Lok Sabha elections without the Congress but with other allies,” the lawmaker said.
He cited how Karunanidhi had left the NDA for the UPA before the 2004 general election after having shared power with the BJP for nearly five years.
Karunanidhi’s official reason for boycotting the by-election is the alleged “help” the Election Commission provided to the AIADMK by informing it of the election date before the official announcement.
This, according to the former chief minister, allowed the ruling party to announce a Rs 50-crore development package for the Pudukottai municipality before the model code of conduct kicked in.