Despite its plunging vote share, both the AIADMK and the DMK have been trying to rope in Vijayakant’s party into their respective alliance.

DMDK to go with AIADMK alliance to get 5 seats Sources to TNM
news Politics Friday, March 01, 2019 - 15:10

After days of driving a hard bargain, Vijayakant’s DMDK will be a part of the AIADMK alliance that includes the BJP and the PMK for the upcoming Lok Sabha Election. AIADMK sources told TNM that 5 seats will be allotted to DMDK. The alliance is expected to be formally sealed on Saturday.

The DMDK had earlier been insisting that it should be treated on par with the PMK, which had been allotted seven Lok Sabha constituencies and one Rajya Sabha seat. However, the DMDK has been forced to settle for less after negotiations with the DMK failed.

The AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu will now see BJP contesting in 5 seats, PMK in 7 and DMDK in 5. With the DMDK on board, the AIADMK is likely to drop smaller parties like the IJK and PT that it had earlier intended to give one seat each to. The ruling party will end up contesting around 20 seats in the state.

Despite its reduced vote share, the reason both the DMK and the AIADMK have been trying to rope in the DMDK, is simply because many believe the polls could go down to the wire. Even a vote share of around 2% could be decisive in the elections.

Vijayakant had formed the DMDK in 2005 and in the 2006 Assembly Election, the party managed to win one seat- that of the party leader. It, however, managed to poll and impressive 8.38% votes in its electoral debut.

Thereafter, in the 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, DMDK saw its vote share increase to 10.38% but has since seen its vote share plummet in subsequent polls. In the 2014 Lok Sabha Election, Vijayakant’s party’s vote share reduce to 5.2% and it further reduced to 2.39%.

The DMK had refused to allot the DMDK not more than 5 seats, and had also insisted that the Congress give up two seats to make space for Vijayakant’s party. However, with Congress refusing to do so and with DMK not entirely on board with the DMDK, the seat sharing talks failed. This even as the DMDK continued to negotiate for seats with the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.  

In the past week, a number of political leaders have called on Vijayakant, who recently returned from the US following treatment for health problems. While Union Minister and BJP leader Piyush Goyal had visited Vijayakant at his residence on February 19, the DMDK leader insisted that the party be given as many seats as the PMK. Days later, former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief S Thirunavukkarasar attempted to rope in the DMDK.  Thereafter, DMK President MK Stalin paid a ‘courtesy call’ to Vijayakant.

A source in the DMK had earlier told TNM that its efforts to negotiate with Vijayakant was on the insistence of the Congress. The source said, "The Congress is insisting that the DMDK should join the alliance, as it is a matter of perception. They want our side to look like they the most formidable alliance and numerical strength."

And while DMDK continued to negotiate with the Dravidian heavyweights, Vijayakant on February 22 announced that the party would be giving out applications to members who are looking to contest in the Lok Sabha Elections from all 40 seats. The move was read as an attempt drive a hard bargain with the Dravidian parties.   

 

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