The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), which on Monday launched the distribution of application forms to Lok Sabha ticket aspirants, is facing the dilemma of how to accommodate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an electoral front that may take shape in the coming weeks.
Even though certain sections of the party favour an electoral tie-up with the BJP, some other sections are still opposed to any such arrangement. This aversion is not just due to the fear of likely loss of votes of religious minorities, but also due to other reasons. Some leaders are apprehensive about the greater pressure the party is likely to encounter in apportioning seats in western districts, a traditional stronghold of the AIADMK, to the BJP and any other possible ally, such as the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK).
There is one more factor: T.T.V. Dhinakaran, the rebel leader and founder of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK). In the event of the ruling party joining hands with the BJP, there is talk of Mr. Dhinakaran focussing his campaign in constituencies that may be allotted to the latter. In such an event, members of the AIADMK may rally behind the rebel leader.
Those who advocate an understanding with the BJP also cite several aspects in support of their position. There is a perception of antipathy towards the BJP having been reduced, now thanks to certain attractive proposals in the Central budget.
When the DMK is going to face the electorate with the Congress, a possible dominant player of a future government at the Centre, no purpose will be served if the ruling party chooses to contest the polls by not aligning with the BJP, which is said to be enjoying fair chances of returning to power.
Thirdly, in the event of the AIADMK roping in parties such as the PMK, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar), Puthiya Tamizhagam, Indiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) of the founder of SRM Group of Institutions T.R. Pachamuthu and the New Justice Party of A.C. Shanmugam, the presence of the BJP in such a coalition may stand to lose little as the anticipated loss of votes of religious minorities may get neutralised by gain of votes from other communities, explain those in favour of the alliance with the national party.
On record, D. Jayakumar, Fisheries Minister, says nothing has been finalised as of now on seat sharing.
At the party headquarters, the party coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam and cocoordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami formally launched the distribution and receipt of application forms from aspirants. Former Ministers Thalavai Sundaram, Gokula Indira and Mukkur N. Subramanian handed over their forms.
P. Ravindranath Kumar, son of the Deputy Chief Minister and secretary of the Theni district unit of the Amma Peravai, received a form. At the end of the day, about 250 forms were distributed to aspirants.