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TAMIL NADU

Finding alternative to Dravidian parties is their campaign theme

Wednesday 29 March 2006, by RAMAKRISHNAN*T.

BJP, DMDK urge voters to give them a chance BJP, DMDK urge voters to give them a chance

CHENNAI: "Providing an alternative to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (AIADMK)" is a theme that has cropped up several times in State politics.

This time round, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) are stressing this point in their campaign.

The BJP, for almost a year, was preparing to go it alone in the Assembly elections, arguing that the people of the State were tired of the "politics of vengeance and confrontation." The DMDK has taken the line that the DMK and the AIADMK had not lived up to people’s expectations, while urging the voters to give it a chance.

The situation is similar to the one that prevailed before the 1989 Assembly elections when, for the first time after 1977, the Congress decided to contest without the support of the DMK or the AIADMK. The Congress had then urged the voters to end the "dark Dravidian rule."

The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, kick-starting the campaign in December 1988, said Tamil Nadu was ahead in agriculture, industry and education for 20 years after Independence.

But after 1967, when the DMK came to power, the State was no more in the forefront. He urged the electorate to set right the situation by returning the Congress to power.

After a high-profile campaign, the Congress secured just 26 out of the 215 Assembly seats it contested. After the bitter experience, the party reverted to the practice of facing the Assembly elections with the support of one of the Dravidian parties.

The charges

BJP president Rajnath Singh, launching the party’s campaign on March 19, said if given a chance, the BJP would put the State on the path of development. The DMK and the AIADMK could not eradicate poverty and unemployment despite remaining in power for long.

DMDK founder Vijaykant alleged that the DMK and the AIADMK did not care for the poor.

See online : The Hindu

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