New Delhi: Actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth who heads the DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam)is a much sought after politician in Tamil Nadu today.
The DMK which is desperately trying to cobble up an alliance of all anti-Jayalaithaa forces in the state was trying its best to bring Vijaykanth on its side. The abrupt decision of Vijayakanth to contest upcoming Assembly elections on its own has come as a rude shock to Karunanidhi’s party.
In fact, Vijayakanth was being wooed by both DMK as well as BJP. Since Vijayakantha has no political ideology of his own, he was willing to go with any party or formation. If media reports are to be believed then his only condition was that he should be projected as the CM candidate.
After playing King-maker for last 10 years or so, Vijayakanth now have developed ambitions of occupying King’s chair himself. And that’s what spoiled his negotiations with both DMK and BJP.
Vijayakanth who loves to call himself ‘dark MGR’ had jumped into politics with an aim to join the league of his illustrious colleagues of Tamil film industry like MGR, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa who had created a niche for themselves in southern state’s politics.
Vijaykanth’s party DMDK made its electoral debut in 2006 Assembly elections and contested all 234 Assembly seats. Except for Vijayakanth, all other candidates of DMDK lost the elections. The only consolation was that his party got a little over 8% vote share.
In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the party once again decided to go all alone and contested all 39 Lok Sabha seats. The result was no better than 2006 and Vijayakanth’s party could not win a single seat in these parliamentary elections. The party, however, managed to increase its vote share from over 8% to over 10%.
After successive failures in 2006 and 2009 elections, Vijayakanth decided to try his luck with alliance politics. In 2011 Assembly elections, he joined hands with Jayalalitha’s AIADMK and this move paid rich dividends for his party DMDK. With 29 seats, Vijayakanth’s party emerged as the second largest party in Tamil Nadu Assembly. Since DMK was decimated in 2011 Assembly elections, DMDK became the official opposition party in the Assembly and Vijaykanth became the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the house.
Unfortunately for Vijayakanth, his relationship with Jayalalithaa started deteriorating immediately after he became LoP. His stringent criticism of Jayalalithaa government annoyed Jaya and she also started targeting Vijayakanth. In a setback to Vijayakanth, 8 of his legislators resigned in February 2016 and he lost the post of Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Vijayakanth’s DMDK joined hands with Narendra Modi and entered NDA alliance. DMDK failed to open its account in LS polls because Jayalalithaa swept 2014 parliamentary elections. The vote share of Vijayakanth shrunk to around 5% in these elections.
Vijaykanth’s voteshare has varied between 5-10% in last 10 years and that’s the only reason why DMK was desparate to seal an alliance with DMDK. Karunanidhi and Stalin know that if they have to dethrone Jayalalithaa then the opposition votes need to be consolidated. Vijayajanth’s decision to go all alone in Assembly elections has come as a rude shock to DMK. As far as the BJP is concerned, they were hopeful that the alliance with Vijayakanth would continue in Assembly elections as well but the party is not willing to make him CM candidate. As we all know, BJP is a cadre based party and after formation of Modi government at the centre, party veterans are not willing to play second fiddle to Vijaykanth.
For Jayalalithaa, who is hopeful of storming back to power for fourth term, the decision of Vijayakanth has come as a good news because division in opposition ranks will definitely bolster her chances in upcoming elections. After MGR, no politician has managed to make a successive comeback in Tamil Nadu Assembly elections and if Jayalalithaa manages to return in these elections then she would not mind sending a ‘Thank You’ note to Vijayakanth after results are announced.