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Achilles Heel And Amma's Killing Touch
On the surface, it appears that AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha, bereft of other allies, has decided to get back with the BJP. But crucially, the AIADMK won’t be part of the NDA. To put it in Amma’s words, they will be "working together for the Lok Sabha polls". Jayalalitha, who has been a vocal critic of Sonia Gandhi’s ‘foreign origins’, has maintained she was allying with the BJP since her party was "committed to having an Indian as prime minister". The BJP, which won three Lok Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu in 1999, is pitching for 10. The battle-lines are now clearly drawn between the ‘Hindutva’ alliance and the DMK-led ‘secular’ Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA). The DPA has had its own share of headaches with the Congress being unhappy over the manner in which the pmk has got away with some early deals. The only two groups which have been left out of the two major alliances are the two Dalit parties—Dalit Panthers and Puthiya Tamizhagam. They are planning to float the New People’s Alliance that is expected to eat into the DMK-led front’s basic voteshare.
On TN’s west, in Kerala, there’s trouble for the Congress with veteran leader K. Karunakaran threatening to split the party—he has declared he’ll float the Indira National Congress.
The seriousness of Karunakaran’s intention to split the party was, however, not immediately discernible because he has advised his son K. Muraleedharan, the Kerala state Congress chief, not to quit the party. Karunakaran is flexing his muscles to reportedly leverage key seats for his group. In the days to come, there may be renewed efforts to win Karunakaran back. If these efforts fail, it’ll be to the advantage of the Left that has made friendly overtures to the Congress rebels in the past. Even if he doesn’t come to an arrangement with the Left, Karunakaran can only harm the Congress-led UDF’s prospects.
By S. Anand and John Mary