The PMK’s endorsement of the Governor’s address to the State Assembly on January 2 (which is actually a text prepared by the cabinet of the AIADMK government, in effect CM Edappadi Palaniswami’s speech) has sent signals of a renewal of ties between the two parties, fondly watched from the aisles by Big Brother BJP. If all goes well, the PMK could be a part of the AIADMK-led front in Tamil Nadu for the Lok Sabha polls, with the BJP expected to bless the alliance.
The statement of PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss, coming as it does after bitter criticism of the AIADMK government by the PMK for over two years, indicates a climbdown on the part of the PMK from its go-it-alone- policy of 2016, and a possible return to alliance politics. The PMK made a strong bid to come to power in the State, projecting his son Anbumani as the chief ministerial candidate. However, the party failed to even a single seat. This has prompted the PMK to look at possible allies for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Sources in the DMK said there were feelers from the PMK to join the DMK-led front after the Congress announced its decision to be part of the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu. However, the PMK’s condition of dropping the VCK from the front proved to be a bone of contention.
The AIADMK, stung by the momentum gained by the DMK and its numerous allies, has been on the look-out for poll partners. It has reached out to the PMK in recent times with the hope that the party, seen as a Vanniyar outfit, has considerable presence in north Tamil Nadu, upto Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Salem districts.
The PMK, after being part of the AIADMK-BJP front for the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK-led alliance in 2001 Assembly elections and 2009 LS polls, , kept away from the AIADMK in 2014 and 2016. It has had alliances with the DMK and the AIADMK from time to time, with the result that the PMK has always been considered as a fickle partner. The PMK has countered this in the past by pointing out that the AIADMK and DMK too had changed poll partners at will and they could not be considered as consistent either.
The PMK hint at the beginning of a new year has been welcomed by sources in the AIADMK who believe that the two parties could stitch together another alliance soon. After all, the PMK leader Anbumani himself needs to retain his Dharmapuri LS seat. He requires a couple of allies to pull him through.
The BJP, which is seen as being behind these developments, is keen that a strong front emerges against the DMK-Congress combine in Tamil Nadu. The BJP wants to get a good chunk of seats for the NDA from the State to compensate for losses in the Hindi heartland. It was in 1998 that Jayalalithaa and the BJP formed a strong front with the PMK and MDMK in tow. The alliance won two thirds of the LS seats in the State. There are signs that such an alliance could be revived with the MDMK alone not being part of the front. They may have a new partner in the Puthiya Tamizhagam.