ELECTORAL BARGAINING AHEAD OF LOK SABHA POLLS InTNAnti-BJPBloc,DMK will Call the Shots, says Raja
Kamal and Dhinakaran seeing Congress as partner without DMK There is no doubt that MK Stalin is the leader of the alliance. At the same time, I am also confident that he will treat his partners respectably
Chennai: The DMK will have the upper hand in its alliance with the Congress in Tamil Nadu, especially on the question of additional partners to their anti-BJP front ahead of the Parliamentary elections, with the pre-condition that they espouse “secular” causes, the party’s propaganda secretary and former union telecom minister A Raja told ET, in what was a commentary on overtures aimed at the Congress from new entrant Kamal Haasan and VK Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran.
Haasan had expressed interest to ally with the Congress on a condition that the national party cuts off electoral ties with the DMK. Dhinakaran, questioned earlier on possible alliances, had also said his party may consider the Congress as a potential partner onlyifitexitsthecurrentalliance with the DMK.
“As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, we [DMK] are the leader in the alliance. The leader decides who forms the second flank in the battalion. We will decide who our friends are — the only thing is that they have to be secular.”
For the Congr-ess, mor e p o l l p a r t - ners besides t he DMK ahead of the Parliamentary elections is a beneficial development to leverage a perceived “a nt i - B J P s e nt i - ment,” according to Congress spokesper- son Americai Narayanan, who said: “There is no doubt that MK Stalin is the leader of the alliance. Atthesametime,Iamalso confident that he will treat his partners r e s p e c t ably.” According to people aware of electoral strategies in the Congress, the party i s e x- pected to make an effort to bridge differences between parties with a proclaimed anti-BJP stance in Tamil Nadu in the months closer to the elections. DMK President MK Stalin, amid speculation of a backchannel with the BJP, had clarified that his target was to stridently oppose the BJP at the hustings in his first-ever speech as president after the demise of M Karunanidhi. The speech was seen by Congress party leaders in Tamil Nadu, and those in theDMKwillingtheCongress-DMK alliance to endure, as a sign that the alliance was still intact. TheCongressandtheDMK,which has been in alliance since the Parliamentary polls on 2014, has not begundiscussingtheseat-sharingpact for the forthcoming polls, said Raja.
Raja, along with several others including Kanomozhi, were acquitted last December by a CBI Special Court in the case of irregularities in 2Gspectrumallocation.Rajasaidhe had been “unnecesarily punished” inthecase,andthathisacquittalhas forcedtheelectorateto“correcttheir impression of him.”