The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vaiko party flip

Chennai, March 2: The Sattankulam Assembly bypoll result and Vaiko’s continued detention under the anti-terror law appear to have forced a change in the MDMK’s political strategy.

A “fifth-class pass” L. Neelamegavarnam of the ADMK trounced lawyer A. Mahendran of the Congress at Sattankulam, a “Congress bastion” for three decades.

The party decided to shed its “adversarial politics” against the mother party, the DMK, at yesterday’s first general council meeting since Vaiko’s arrest in July.

The MDMK thought it politically prudent to forge “closer fraternal ties” with the party of M. Karunanidhi, whose “brotherly gestures and affection” it wants to “reciprocate”.

The MDMK and the DMK are NDA partners at the Centre and both are without their top leaders, Vaiko and Murasoli Maran — though for different reasons. Vaiko has been languishing in Vellore central prison for openly supporting the banned LTTE, and Maran is critically ill.

A huge cut-out resembling the Vellore prison’s facade with Vaiko behind bars adorned the venue of the general council meeting here, presided over by MDMK presidium chairman L. Ganesan.

The cut-out was aimed at boosting the cadre’s morale and the meeting tried to give them a sense of direction by redefining the MDMK’s short-term approach in a DMK-centric fashion.

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