Actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth has been announced as the Chief Minister-candidate by the People’s Welfare Front (PWF), floated by some regional parties along with the two major Left parties, CPI and CPI(M), in Tamil Nadu polls for the coming Assembly election.
This puts a full stop to months of speculation as to which side Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) will go, whether with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or with the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam). PWF is a combination of the Marumalarchi DMK of Vaiko, the Vidhuthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Left.
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DMDK drags its feet on alliance; keeps BJP, DMK and PWF waiting
Two weeks earlier, Vijaykanth announced his party would not ally with either of the two major fronts, DMK or AIADMK, in the election. Later, he said the party was open to join an alliance with parties which would accept him as CM candidate. As this was out of the question for both DMK and AIADMK, the question was whether the national outfits, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, would so accept him.The Congress has since decided go with the DMK, which had earlier walked out of the Congress-led coalition at the Centre.
The BJP was not keen on Vijayakanth’s leadership. DMDK was in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
For the assembly election so far, no major regional party has joined the NDA, including former ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), too.
Of the 234 assembly seats, DMDK will contest 125 and other parties in the PWF 109.
Vijayakanth told reporters: “My cadres and people at large wanted me to be the king. All the alliance partners have asked me to be the CM candidate.”
DMDK was begun by Vijayakanth in 2006 and the party contested in all 234 seats in the state elections that year. Excepting him, all lost. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, it contested on its own in all 39 constituencies in the state, winning no seats but polling almost three million votes, about a tenth of the total. In the 2011 assembly poll, the party won 29 seats as part of the AIADMK alliance (which he later quit) and Vijayakanth became official leader of the opposition.
The BJP, which was wooing Vijayakanth, said of the PWF, “It is an anti-people alliance.”
It will, then, by a multi-cornered contest, with the AIADMK slate, DMK-Cong, PWF, NDA and PMK. Analysts the ruling AIADMK to benefit from this, as opposition to it would be split into different accounts.