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"Informal contacts and consultations" under way, say AIADMK sources

Thursday 2 February 2006, by JAYANTH*V.

Jayalalithaa’s "open door" policy on alliances should create a flutter in political circles

CHENNAI: At a time when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been accusing the AIADMK and the State police of attempting to wean away some parties from the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s "open door" policy on alliances should create a flutter in political circles.

On the record, it is only former Pondicherry Minister P. Kannan and his team from the Union Territory has met the AIADMK chief for an electoral alliance or seat sharing. Though there have been no formal or official talks with political parties in Tamil Nadu, ruling party sources say that "informal contacts and consultations" are underway. They are likely to crystallise during the month, picking up momentum after the AIADMK general council meeting this weekend.

None of those who are stated to be "in touch" with the ruling party here want to say so on record. But enquiries reveal that some of the Vanniyar groups opposed to the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) are "exploring" the possibilities of a tie-up. Similarly, a couple of Dalit outfits are "not averse" to "electoral adjustments" with the AIADMK. A section of Dalit MLAs who were with the PMK have already joined the ruling party.

Though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has maintained that it will be going it alone in the coming elections to the State Assembly, it has been maintaining "good relations" with the Chief Minister. Both in the Assembly and outside, there is no personal criticism. Both sides concede that once election dates are announced, the possibility of re-establishing formal contacts exists.

But what has raised both eyebrows and expectations relates to the position of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK). Though on the record, the MDMK claims to "remain in the DPA," its district-level functionaries are certainly not ruling out "some understanding with the AIADMK." They claim that it will depend not only on the seats to be offered by the DMK, but also on the "personal equations" of their leader Vaiko, especially with the DMK Deputy General Secretary M.K. Stalin. But of late, Mr. Vaiko has not missed any of the DPA meetings and even called on Mr. Karunanidhi on Republic Day, if only to scotch the rumours. But the very fact that the MDMK is not averse to having an "open mind" on the alliance speaks volumes about the potential for realignment.

Mr. Karunanidhi is keen on finalising the seat-sharing arrangement among the DPA constituents by the end of February - before the State conference planned in Tiruchi in the first week of March. DPA sources welcome this move and emphasise that it will be in the interests of the alliance to firm up the agreement well in time and ensure a smooth and coordinated campaign "to defeat the AIADMK." The ruling party too may look forward to this as it can provide "an opening" for the dissatisfied or frustrated elements to quit the alliance and seek a new path. Party sources point to the familiar refrain: "There are no permanent enemies or friends in politics."

See online : The Hindu

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