After a general council meeting of his party, DMK chief M Karunanidhi ruled out an alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections, setting the stage for a realignment of political equations in Tamil Nadu.
The decision opened up the possibility of the DMK aligning with the BJP in the hope of distancing itself from anti-incumbency and building on what it perceives as growing acceptance for the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. The decision marks a paradigm shift in TN’s politics after a decade: DMK was an ally of Congress through two general elections. Addressing the general council here, Karunanidhi said the DMK could never forget the arrests of its leaders in the wake of the 2G scam.
“We suffered a lot in the Congress alliance. It created a bad name for us,” he said. Referring to the arrests of former telecom minister A Raja and his daughter Kanimozhi, he said he was aware of how CBI functioned and dealt with cases.
Members cheered as Karunanidhi’s tone grew emotional, recalling the party’s travails and the manner in which it was “treated” by the Congress. The DMK chief rounded off his speech by stressing on the fact that the “Congress had done nothing for the cause of the Tamils”. Congress will now be forced to form an alliance without the Dravidian majors AIADMK and DMK. Until August this year, both sides were still exploring the possibility of firming up an alliance along with the DMDK led by actor-politician Vijayakanth although DMK had vociferously criticised the JPC report on the 2G scam and in its dissent note, had insisted that Raja had taken all decisions with the PM’s consent. But after the recent assembly poll verdict, the mood in the DMK camp had changed drastically and in the days leading up to the general council meeting, there were enough indications that the party was considering snapping ties with its UPA ally.
Though some top-level DMK leaders are in favour of joining hands with BJP, an overwhelming number of speakers at the meeting urged the party to attempt a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance.
During his speech Karunanidhi also recalled DMK’s alliance with the BJP during Vajpayee’s prime ministership. He said Vajpayee was a “humane” leader with love and affection for the Tamils. “On the other hand, Advani was not the same,” he said. The BJP’s leadership had changed and now Modi has entered the scene, he added. While commenting on the media hype around the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Karunanidhi sought to explain it saying it was bound to happen. When reporters asked about a potential alliance with BJP, he did not rule out the possibility. “We have formed a committee to discuss the alliance. That committee will decide.”