Stalin meets Vijayakanth; sets off speculation

M K Stalin's surprise visit to DMDK chief Vijayakanth sent political tongues wagging with speculation mounting on whether the latter was joining the DMK-led alliance to face the Lok Sabha polls due in May. (Twitter/MK Stalin)

DMK president M K Stalin stunned political circles by driving down to the residence of DMDK founder and actor Vijayakanth, who he viewed as his political rival for long, ostensibly to enquire about his health.

The surprise visit obviously sent political tongues wagging with speculation mounting on whether the DMDK was joining the DMK-led alliance to face the Lok Sabha polls due in May.

Stalin, who had rejected his father late M Karunanidhi’s proposal to include the DMDK in the alliance during the 2016 Assembly polls, termed his visit as “courtesy call.” Vijayakanth, who is suffering from an undisclosed illness, returned from the US last week where he had gone for medical treatment.

The visit assumes significance since it comes in the middle of DMDK’s negotiations with the AIADMK for an alliance. The BJP, which is part of the AIADMK alliance, has been holding talks with the DMDK to accept five Lok Sabha seats, but the actor’s party wants it to be treated on par with the PMK that has got seven.

“Thank you for your good intention,” was all Stalin said, when asked whether the DMDK will join the DMK alliance.

The DMK president also said his visit to Vijayakanth was also to thank the actor for his “moving tribute” to his father Karunanidhi when he died on August 7, 2018. The actor, who was then in the US, had turned emotional in the video while paying rich tributes to Karunanidhi.

Hours after Stalin met Vijayakanth, AIADMK Coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said alliance talks with the DMDK was continuing and a decision would be arrived at in three days.

Panneerselvam, Electricity Minister P Thangamani and Local Administration Minister S P Velumani met BJP president Amit Shah at the Madurai Airport and are understood to have discussed about DMDK’s demands.

Political observers feel Stalin shedding his reluctance and driving down to Vijayakanth’s residence mean that the DMK was keen on inducting the DMDK into its combine. However, sources in the DMK and Congress said the chances of DMDK joining the alliance were bleak since there are not enough seats left.

“We have already given 10 seats to Congress and we have another five parties with whom we will share some more seats. If we bring DMDK into our alliance, the DMK’s share might go down drastically. We are ready for such a scenario,” a senior DMK leader told DH.

Congress leaders too spoke in same vain saying they don’t think there was any space to accommodate DMDK into the alliance.

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