The predictable expulsion of MK Alagiri from the DMK on Tuesday is likely to boost the chances of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA coalition in Tamil Nadu.
The BJP has brought together variouscaste-based parties in the state, and is now positioned to get closeto 20 per cent votes. Alagiri has made known his preference for BJP'sprime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as chief minister and hasalso met Vaiko of the MDMK, now part of the NDA. Alagiri's support issignificant in south Tamil Nadu and could add to the BJP alliance'skitty.
Though the defiant Alagiri has notpublicly expressed any support to any front, it is clear which way heis moving to. He also made it clear that he will not launch a newparty. His main intention is to see that the DMK finishes third,which looks like a possibility now. According to sources, after thathappens, he will position himself to be chief minister in 2016, ashead of an alliance of parties.
DMK supremo M Karunanidhi announced theexpulsion of his elder son Alagiri, who targeted the party even afterwarning and suspension. However, this is not the first time Alagirihas faced action as the party had acted against him in 2000 but hewas reinstated later only to grow exponentially in Madurai, his base.
BJP is a minor player in Tamil Nadu'sversion of the NDA, with just two per cent votes. The major playersare PMK, and Captain Vijayakanth's DMDK, which has over 10 per centvotes and 14 MLAs. PMK's prized candidate is the former union healthminister Anbumani Ramodoss. In the 2009 elections, PMK was with theAIADMK and got 6% votes. The coming together of erstwhile rivals DMDKand PMK, is significant andindicative of how long the new bonhomie will last. Added tothis is the MDMK, led by Vaiko, which has 3.7 per cent votes.Together, they have about 17 per cent votes. It is to this tally thatAlagiri's presence will add both value and votes.
Meanwhile, 'Amma' Jayalalithaa haseverything going for her since her traditional rival, DMK, does nothave an alliance with any national party — a first since it wasformed in 1957. The scenario has now changed for both the Dravidianparties. A third grouping under the NDA banner has created a loomingpicture of caste vote banks, likely to topple the two Dravidianmajors.
In 2009, the DMK with the Congress andDalit outfit VCK, was able to jointly get 42.4% of the votes polledto win 27 of the 39 seats in the state. DMK won in sevenparliamentary constituencies in the last elections with a margin ofone lakh votes. In contrast, the AIADMK, with five parties, includingtwo Left parties, won nine seats with margins hovering around 50,000and as low as four thousand (Trichy seat).
This time, the scenario is different asthe CPI and CPM, the former allies of AIADMK, are going it alone andthey account for 8.4% votes. PMK, MDMK and DMDK have dumpedJayalalithaa for BJP to account for 16.8% of the votes polled. DMKwill see an erosion of 15% votes as the Congress too is going solo.Going by the numbers, Jayalalitha alone will have to make up for25.2% erosion of votes from the previous LS elections.
"Traditionally, the state sees afight between two Dravidian parties with a national party inalliance. A third alternative never clicks with the voters,"explained Tamilaruvi Manian, a Gandhian and the architect who broughtthe parties to the NDA fold. "In this scenario, it became necessaryfor an alternative to emerge to give voters a credible choice. Thiscannot be done by one party. It has to put up a credible front andshould have a voter share that comes close to that of the Dravidianparties. This time, we have more or less achieved it. Congress is notgoing to come to power for sure."