Tactical move

The decision of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (DMK) not to have an alliance with the UPA led by the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha elections was not unexpected.

Party supremo M Karunanidhi’s announcement at a general council meeting this week that there would be no tie-up with the Congress came after a long period of bitterness with the UPA, of which it was once a leading constituent. Its ministers had to quit the government, it withdrew others and finally pulled out of the UPA with each step increasing the estrangement. If no definite announcement had been made about the parting of ways it was because the DMK was only waiting for the right time to make it. The general council has now authorised the leaders to consider the possibility of an electoral alliance with other parties.

Karunanidhi has said that the party could not forget the arrest of its leaders in the wake of the 2G scam. The DMK has felt that the Congress and the joint parliamentary committee that went into the 2G scam put the entire blame on the then communications minister A Raja, though the prime minister and the government was in full knowledge of the decisions relating  to spectrum allotment. Raja and Kanimozhi had to spend time in jail and the party was tarred with the taint of corruption. It has been trying to find other issues also, like the Indian policy on the Sri Lankan Tamils’ rights, to further distance itself from the government and to whip up popular support for itself within the state.

The mauling received by the Congress in the recent assembly elections must have convinced the party that it would not gain much from an alliance with the Congress, as the prospect of  UPA coming back to power is itself dim.

Neither of the two Dravidian parties – the DMK or the AIADMK led by Jayalalitha, which is now firmly entrenched in the state – has had any ideological preferences in choosing allies. Alliances have depended only on calculations of power and immediate benefit. The DMK will find it difficult to challenge the AIADMK in the Lok Sabha elections or in the state Assembly elections which will be held later. As the situation is unenviable, its present posture may even be considered as an attempt to bargain with the Congress or a search for more implausible options. The Congress in any case will not have any other worthwhile option.

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