Thursday, March 09, 2006

PMK in a fix

TN Election Special # 1
As Chennai is getting hotter these days, so is the political fever in Tamil Nadu. I have been caught in the political fever as well, hence this and future posts on this subject.

Now that the state assembly elections have been announced, there is intense parleys amongst various mainly aligned to AIADMK and DMK camps. The main currency in these parleys is the coveted seats. Every party worth its salt is clamoring to garner as many seats as possible. Ideology, history, position on various issues hardly matters. Everything is negotiable and will be compromised for few more seats. It is interesting all of them are solely aim to garner more opportunity to stand in elections and don't seem to be taking the winability aspect in to consideration. Both DPI (Thol Thirumavalavan) and MDMK (VaiKo) chose to align with AIADMK mainly because Ms. Jayalalithaa offered more seats than Mr. Karunanidhi.

While MDMK's last minute switch may have released 20+ seats in the DMK camp, it has also put PMK in a fix. PMK claims that they are the third largest party in the state and wants to contest in as many places as possible and at the minimum more than MDMK. But then, there is only so many seats to go around and PMK appears to have been put in a corner. All other alliance parties have inked deals with DMK and have taken 74 seats (Congress 48, CPIM 13, CPI 10, Muslim League 3). That leaves 160 seats for DMK and PMK.

The big question now is how many seats will PMK get? My guess is DMK will contest in a minimum of 130 seats leaving 30 seats on the table for PMK. Is this palatable to PMK supremo Mr. Ramadoss? There is one other possibility and that is the Pondicherry wild card. DMK might offer substantial amount of seats (say 15+) to PMK and agree to be a junior partner. This decision will have a huge impact on Congress aspirations there as they have much to loose.

Now, what will PMK do? All along, PMK has been claiming that they are stronger and bigger than MDMK. In fact, in the last parliamentary elections, PMK got & won more seats than MDMK. But with MDMK getting 35 seats from AIADMK, what is PMK going to do? Will Mr. Ramadoss take 30 seats hoping to win more than MDMK at the hustings? Will he get to get a major role in Pondicherry as he aspires? We will know in a day or two.. Until then the rumor mills will have a field day.