CHENNAI: DMDK strikes alliance with People’s Welfare Front for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
And the winner is, Vaiko. The veteran politician, who has brought together an alliance called the People’s Welfare Front, has netted prized catch Vijaykanth, actor turned leader of the DMDK, as an ally for May’s Tamil Nadu assembly elections.
Both M Karunanidhi’s DMK and the BJP had ardently wooed Vijaykanth for these elections and the 63-year-old DMDK chief had so far said he would contest the elections alone.
The new alliance, announced today after a meeting, will project Vijaykanth as its chief ministerial candidate and will position itself as a third front in the state. Apart from Vaiko’s MDMK, the Peope’s Welfare Front or PWF includes Left parties CPM and CPI and regional party VCK.After the meeting this morning, Vaiko and Vijaykanth said the DMDK will contest the most seats – 124 of Tamil Nadu’s 234 – while the other 110 will be shared between the constituents of the PWF.
Vijaykanth had contested the last assembly election in 2011 as a partner of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK. His party had won 29 seats as Ms Jayalalithaa swept to power winning a majority. When he parted ways with the AIADMK, he became leader of opposition as the head of the second largest party in the Assembly.
In the 2014 national election Vijaykanth had joined a strategic alliance that the BJP forged with regional parties, but they all drew a blank with Jayalalithaa’s party winning 37 of Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha seats. BJP and PMK had won the other two seats.
Ms Jayalalithaa hopes to extend that powerful performance to this year’s assembly elections and has tied up only with small regional parties.
In the other corner is a smarting DMK, the other heavyweight but diminished in recent elections. The DMK has allied with the Congress this time. The BJP has so far announced no tie-ups.
Tamil Nadu votes on May 16. Results will be announced on May 19.