Monday, August 2, 2010

AIADMK, DMK woo Cong before Polls

AIADMK, DMK Woo Cong Before Polls

Aug 02nd, 2010 - K.S. JAYASEELAN | New Delhi

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The demand for the Indian National Congress has never been so high, ever since it lost power in Tamil Nadu in the 60s. Now with the Assembly elections in the state less than a year away, both the major Dravidian parties — the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) — are courting it like never before. It's a known fact that whichever party the Congress sided with in the past has always had an edge at the hustings. The Congress now is locked in a relationship with the DMK in the state.

Now, the demoralised chief of the AIADMK, Ms Jayalalitha, is at the crossroads of her political career as a defeat in the coming Assembly polls may well ruin her politically. And therefore, she is desperately sending feelers to the Congress begging for a tie-up. In pursuance of that she has instructed all her MPs here in Delhi to remain reticent on price rise, inflation and other issues that would embarass the government.

Even though the AIADMK MPs came out of the House and held placards along with other Opposition parties condemning prise rise, inside Parliament they did not move from their seats even as the entire Opposition rushed to the well of the House. According to sources, the game-plan of Jayalalitha is to drain the DMK, if she is not able to clinch an alliance with the Congress. How?

If push comes to shove, she wouldn't mind parting with even a 100 seats out of the available 234.

If that doesn't bring the Congress to her camp, she would offer a share in her government. This would push the Congress into striking a very hard bargain with the DMK.

The AIADMK also is aware that the Congress finds the DMK to be a reliable ally at the Centre than itself. Therefore Ms Jayalalitha's strategy is to make an irresistable offer.

The DMK last time gave the Congress 60-odd seats. This time, it might offer, at the most around, 80seats. Either way it's advantageous to her, feels Ms Jayalalithaa. If the Congress joins her, the result would be a foregone conclusion.

If the congress doesn't join Ms Jayalalitha and decides to stick around the DMK, she would concentrate on those seats contested by the Congress by fielding very strong candidates.

It the Congress goes for an ambitious third front as rooted by some within the party, the AIADMk would stand to gain in a three-cornered contest.

The Congress, suddenly finding itself in an enviable position, is unable to come to a conclusion. Though the official line is "we are with the DMK", nothing is certain. One senior Congress leader from the Tamil Nadu unit recently said, "As of now, we are with the DMK."

The DMK, having taken cognisance of the scenario, is girding up its loins to fight the battle alone should the need arise. It might rope in a few others to guard its flanks.

According to sources, the strategy of the DMK would be to field candidates in all the constituencies.

But the focus would be only on some 150-160 seats where it will go the whole hog to emerge triumphant. Now it remains to be seen what peculiar twists and turns the political scenario in the state will take before the D-day.

Courtesy_

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