The Lok Sabha elections are fast approaching and while the DMK has made it clear that its alliance with the Congress will continue, the AIADMK is yet to make an official announcement. And while sources from both the AIADMK and BJP confirm that talks between the parties are underway for a united front, both politicians and experts point out that this alliance will be detrimental for the ruling party.
This analysis comes from multiple quarters despite the recent C-Voter's National Approval Ratings predicting zero seats for the AIADMK in a situation that they stand alone in these polls. The Congress-DMK alliance is predicted to win all 39 seats in the state while NDA and AIADMK are projected as heading towards a massive loss. The DMK is expected to win 30 seats while the Congress will bag 9, as per the ratings.
As far as the vote share is concerned, AIADMK is predicted to win 21.3 percent, while the BJP is predicted to win only at 6.7 percent of votes and zero seats. Others are predicted to get 27.8 percent of the total votes.
"This prediction is very probable given the current mood in the state," says RK Radhakrishnan, a senior journalist from the Frontline. "It is not a small election where you can manage by bribing voters. With the AIADMK splitting so does its vote share. Even if they ally with the BJP, the national party will eat into AIADMK's vote share. AIADMK won't gain from it," he explains.
Sources in the AIADMK reveal they are aware of this but an alliance with the BJP is currently 'mandatory'.
"There is fear among workers that the anti-BJP sentiment in Tamil Nadu will affect our vote share. But we share a certain bond and thus are heading towards this alliance," says an AIADMK source. "But the alliance will definitely include regional parties such as the PMK, DMDK and TMC," he adds.
As per the party's calculations, the PMK will help them secure seats in the western districts including Dharmapuri and Tiruvannamalai. They also expect to make headway in Villupuram which currently has a DMK legislator. The TMC headed by GK Vasan meanwhile is seen as a party that will help to a small extent in Thanajvur and the delta region by cutting into the Congress vote bank While Salem and Namakkal are expected to stay with the ruling party, the BJP's influence is seen as advantageous in Kanyakumari and Nagercoil.
"If we don't form an alliance with the BJP we will give a tough fight for the DMK in 15-20 seats. But if we are in an alliance with them, this could work against us in at least 5 to 10 constituencies," says the AIADMK source. "We have better infrastructure and artillery to fight the elections on-ground," he adds.
VCK General Secretary D Ravikumar believes that being part of a pre-poll alliance with BJP will be detrimental for parties like PMK.
"A party like PMK can do post poll alliance with Congress but if they form a pre-poll alliance in which the BJP exists, a post poll tie-up may not be possible. The TMC too will hesitant," say D Ravikumar. "And in addition to this, if the AIADMK allies with the BJP, they will lose the vote of the minority communities. If they don't, that vote will split between the DMK and the AIADMK," he adds.
Sources in the PMK while not ready to comment on the alliance yet, pointed out that their party was definitely a bigger player than the BJP in Tamil Nadu.
"We have a good vote share in 25 seats. Some parties which have nothing are demanding more seats in this alliance," says a senior leader.
The way the opposition sees it, the AIADMK is already battling an anti-incumbency wave.
"If they take on the anti-BJP wave in addition to this, they will collapse," says Ravikumar.
The DMK meanwhile is certain that given the baggage that the BJP comes with, the AIADMK is likely to leave them behind.
"The AIADMK will form an alliance with PMK and DMDK. They will leave BJP out, " predicts a source in the DMK. "This will pose a challenge in 10 odd seats for us. There will be a close fight in 7-8 seats," he adds.
But political analysts maintain that the AIADMK is under pressure to join hands with the BJP.
"This alliance will be determined more by circumstance than choice. The AIADMK is trapped because of the serious cases against most of its ministers," says Ramu Manivannan, political analyst and professor at Madras University. "It they are not in power, they are likely to go to prison."