The DMK, which is aiming for a victory in the upcoming Assembly elections, is currently on the backfoot following the AIADMK decision to provide 10.5 per cent reservation to the Vanniyar community under the Most Backward Class (MBC) quota.
The DMK leadership was in discussion with the Vanniyar community leadership of the north and west Tamil Nadu, when the announcement of reservation came just hours before the election dates came.
DMK leader M.K. Stalin had promised reservation for the Vanniyar community, but this special reservation under the MBC quota clearly has stumped the DMK as the party was in a spot neither to accept or reject it.
The DMK leadership was insisting on 3 seats to its ally, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), during seat sharing discussions and was also proposing them to contest under the Rising Sun symbol of the DMK. However, with the possibility of the Vanniyar community shifting its votes totally to the AIADMK-led front, which has already allocated 23 seats to the PMK, the political arm of the community, the DMK has been forced to provide 6 seats to the VCK.
Thirumavalavan MP, President of VCK while speaking to IANS said, "VCK is a political party which has grassroots support and our alliance with the DMK will help them gain seats in several of our strongholds and, especially among the voting populace, the Dalits. Of course, there were discussions with the DMK leadership to get 6 seats and, I think we will do justice to the alliance and see to it that the DMK is coming to power in Tamil Nadu."
The DMK was also reluctant to provide more than 18 seats to the Congress party, while the grand old party was insisting on 45 seats. Stalin had categorically told former Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, who was deputed by the party high command to conduct discussions with the DMK, that the party cannot provide anything more than 18 seats. However, after the Vanniyar factor and recently with Sasikala deciding to keep away from politics, DMK does not want to take any risks and will be allowing Congress a minimum of 25 seats now.
The DMK is also focusing on the 10 years of anti-incumbency against the AIADMK government as well as on issues like teaching of Hindi, Sanskrit, NEET exams and the AIADMK-connect with the BJP as the main poll planks.
Anbhazhagan, senior leader of DMK while speaking to IANS said ,"We are in total control of the election scene and will win with a landslide. But in politics you should never underestimate your opponent and we are plugging all loopholes and our leader M.K. Stalin has been meeting people over the past several months criss-crossing the state."
The DMK leadership is also wary that after the elections, if there is a slender margin, some of the allies may jump the fence. Hence, the party is aiming to contest maximum seats on its own. The CPI is likely to get 6 seats while the CPI-M has already walked out of the discussions after the DMK suggested 4 seats to the party. However, political observers feel that the CPI-M may ultimately settle for either 4 or 5 seats.