The rapidly evolving landscape of Tamil Nadu politics after a series of makes and breaks in different political parties have made Tamil Nadu a centre for new alliances being forged and old alliances being abandoned. The Election Commission on March 11 announced polling dates for the 2019 general elections. Along with the dates for general elections, the election commission also announced that bypolls on 18 assembly seats of Tamil Nadu out of the total 21 vacant seats will also be held on April 18 along with Lok Sabha elections. Ottapidaram, Tirupparankundrama and Aravakurichi will not have by-elections due to legal cases pending before the Madras High Court.
AIADMK-led alliance with BJP and other regional parties including the MDMK is considered to be in an advantageous position going into 2019 elections. To counter it, DMK also joined hands with Congress going into general elections on the very next day the AIADMK and the BJP announced their alliance. However, the focus in Tamil Nadu remains on the 18 seats for bypolls, which will determine the fate of EK Pallinaswami government in the state. Both AIADMK and DMK will be contesting the elections without former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi for the first time.
While discussions over seat sharing among alliance partners in the DMK-Congress alliance were underway and barely days after the alliance was forged, DMK chief MK Stalin announced of his party’s plan to contest on all the 18 seats for the bypolls leaving its alliance partners Congress and MH Jawahirulla led Manithaneya Makkal Katchi(MMK) in a fix. MH Jawahirulla reacted to the developments and said, “We are firm that we should contest polls on an independent symbol. DMK wanted us to contest on its Rising Sun symbol. Since this is a by-poll, DMK has decided to fight on its own.” Congress leadership is yet to make any comment on the issue.
With this unilateral move of going ahead with the bypolls alone and snubbing of its alliance partners, MK Stalin has opened a huge can of worms over discussions of stability and feasibility of the alliance. Different speculations over Stalin overriding the alliance are making rounds in political circles. According to reports, no alliance partner was consulted before the announcement about the bypoll elections.
After breaking of the DMK-Congress alliance in 2014 the late leader of DMK M Karunanidhi had said “kooda natpu kedai mudiyum (a bad friendship will only end in disaster)”
Many believe the unilateral decision by Stalin is a prelude to conditions which might follow, leading to breaking up of the alliance. In critical times like these, just a few weeks before the general elections, alliances formed by major parties will decide the future of Indian political scenario. Hasty moves by leaders are surely not positive signs for the stability and longevity of the alliance formed and surely not a good signs going into elections.