After a long drawn negotiation, the DMDK and the AIADMK finalised the pre-poll pact for the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, which is scheduled to be held on April 18. According to the agreement which was signed on Sunday, the DMDK has been allotted four seats in the alliance.
Speaking to reporters after the agreement was signed, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who is also the coordinator of AIADMK said, “A good decision has been taken to contest the upcoming polls together.” He also added that the DMDK will support the AIADMK candidates in the assembly bypolls which are also scheduled to be held on April 18. He was flanked by Chief Minister and Joint Coordinator of AIADMK Edappadi K Palaniswami, Chief of DMDK Vijayakant, Treasurer of DMDK Premalatha Vijayakant and Deputy General Secretary LK Sudhish while he made the formal announcement of the alliance.
DMDK has attempted to drive a hard bargain, demanding as many seats as the PMK in the alliance. However, its last-minute attempt to join the DMK went futile with the Dravidian heavyweight refusing to yield any seats.
The AIADMK alliance will see the ruling party contest from at least 21 seats, the PMK 7, BJP 5, DMDK 4, PT 1, New Justice party 1. The NR Congress has been given the lone seat of Puducherry.
DMDK was one of the first parties to announce that they had started talking to political parties for an alliance in the upcoming polls. In February, LK Sudhish, the Deputy General Secretary of DMDK stated that alliance talks were in progress and will be finalised once ‘Captain’ Vijayakant came back from the US, where he had gone for medical treatment.
Vijayakant has been away from active politics for a while now due to his health. His wife Premalatha Vijayakant was elected as the Treasurer of the party in October 2018 who had then said that Tamil Nadu will witness a golden rule led by Vijayakant. It was after this that Vijayakant left to the US for his treatment.
Recently, DMDK faced flak for speaking to both DMK and AIADMK for alliance in the upcoming polls. However, as DMK made it clear that it has no more seats to offer the DMDK, the two options before the party were either to ally with the ruling AIADMK-BJP alliance or to contest alone.
DMDK was founded in 2005 and has had its own share of ups and downs in the electoral space. While Vijayakant managed to win one seat in the 2006 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, in the 2011 Assembly polls, DMDK allied with AIADMK and was given 41 seats by AIADMK to contest from. DMDK became the main opposition party in the legislative assembly after it won 29 seats out of the 41 seats. However, the alliance fell apart following the elections, and nine DMDK MLAs defected to the ruling AIADMK camp.
DMDK was part of the rainbow alliance which had BJP, PMK, MDMK but drew a blank in 2014 general elections. In the 2016 Assembly polls, Vijayakant joined the People’s Welfare Front comprising of Left parties, VCK, and the MDMK. However, the combine was routed in the polls.