Immediate trigger for the mini exodus has been Vaiko’s decision to stay with the People Welfare Front

Vaikos party faces mini-exodus Is he making a mistake yet again
Voices Sunday, September 20, 2015 - 13:17

MDMK Chief Vaiko has put on a brave face, but just months before the state assembly election, the party has received a jolt that even Vaiko knows cannot be written off so easily.

In the past few days, many district leaders of the party have been openly defiant, leaving Vaiko and joining Karunanidhi.

The crisis became more pronounced as party treasurer Masilamani left soon after the departure of Salem district secretary K.C.V. Tamaraikannan, deputy district secretary SV Rajendran, women’s wing secretary Kumari Vijayakumari and others.

The immediate trigger for the mini exodus has been Vaiko’s decision to stay with the People Welfare Front, an alliance comprising of Left parties, VCK and MMK.

Vaiko’s decision to stay with the front came as a bit of a surprise as in January this year, he had met DMK leader Stalin at the wedding of the daughter of PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss and granddaughter of PMK chief Ramadoss. The duo had posed for the shutterbugs and actively encouraged rumours of a rainbow alliance against Jayalalithaa in 2016.

Vaiko with Stalin - Pic by

Two months later, Vaiko had told his district secretaries that he was inclined to join the DMK’s alliance. “This move had enthused the secretaries as naturally they want to be part of an alliance which they believe has a chance to win,” a leader close to Vaiko told The News Minute.

Vaiko has accused Karunanidhi and Stalin of trying to finish his party. "The DMK chief has broken up the party to an extent, and has taken away a few district secretaries,” he admitted to the media.

Though the MDMK has never been a marvel when it came to electoral victory in the state, Vaiko has been consistent with voicing his stand on many pertinent issues. “But that is not enough to keep a party together. We need to win elections,” the MDMK leader said.

A leader once seen as a challenge to Stalin in the DMK, Vaiko was expelled from the party in 1993 by Karunanidhi who accused him of trying to eliminate him in collusion with the LTTE.

Though Vaiko has never aligned with the DMK in assembly elections, in 1999, MDMK and DMK were part of BJP-led NDA alliance in Lok Sabha elections. In 1998 and 2004, Vaiko was with the AIADMK during Lok Sabha polls.

However MDMK has always followed a different trajectory when it came to state elections. In 1996, MDMK went with the Left parties. In 2001, talks with DMK broke down, and MDMK contested in 211 seats in TN, winning not even one. In 2006, MDMK won six seats in an alliance with AIADMK. In 2011, after talks with Jayalalithaa collapsed, Vaiko stayed away from elections.

Leaders and cadres of Vaiko’s party have not been part of any ruling dispensation for years now.  And that’s where Vaiko seems to have misread his party’s mood.  Or is this part of a political strategy to deliberately stay out and divide votes? Anything is possible in politics.