DMK wants Cong to lead anti-BJP front

DMK wants Cong to lead anti-BJP front

he talk of a Third Front gained momentum after Rao and Mamata launched fresh efforts to bring all regional parties under a single umbrella.

The DMK feels sidelining or leaving out the Congress from efforts to overthrow the BJP government will be counterproductive and will end up helping the saffron party.

The regional party, which propped up two Third Front governments at the Centre in 1989 and 1996, and played a crucial role in cobbling up the UPA in 2004, wants the Congress to be an “integral part” of any national alliance that intends to defeat the Narendra Modi dispensation.

Sources in the DMK told DH that the party’s line of thinking on the national alliance to oust the BJP government was conveyed to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“The DMK feels the Congress is the only party other than the BJP to have a national presence and this makes the grand old party indispensable to defeat the saffron outfit. We feel the Congress should be part of any alliance that intends to send the Modi government home,” a senior DMK leader told DH.

At the same time, the leader said, the DMK, which has been a vociferous supporter of state autonomy, wants to be friends with the likes of TRS and the TMC to ensure that the Centre does not encroach upon the rights of the state governments.

The talk of a Third Front gained momentum after Rao and Mamata launched fresh efforts to bring all regional parties under a single umbrella.

Differences have cropped on the inclusion of the Congress in the alliance with Rao initially talking of a front without the two major national parties.

But the DMK says the Congress can head the national-level alliance and fronts in states can be led by respective regional players.

Another leader said the DMK leadership feels any front without the Congress will only help the BJP in the long run.

“In 1996, we formed a Third Front government with outside support from the Congress that lasted only 18 months. In the successive elections, the BJP came to power. So, practically speaking, a Third Front without the Congress will only help the BJP,” he said.

The DMK has been in an alliance with the Congress since 2004, except from 2013 to 2016 when the two parties broke ranks after a disagreement on the sensitive Sri Lankan Tamils' issue.

The DMK has been playing a major role at the national level since 1989 when its chief M Karunanidhi became one of the regional leaders to propose V P Singh for the post of prime minister and his party eventually joined the government.

Again in 1996 and 1997, the party supported the United Front government led by H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral and was part of its administration.

Breaking ranks with the Third Front, the DMK became part of the NDA under A B Vajpayee and enjoyed power from 1998 to 2003.

Later, the DMK shared power with the Congress from 2004 to 2013 at the Centre.