DMK front on the backfoot in Tamil Nadu

May 5th, 2009 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Chennai, May 5 (IANS) With just a week left for the fifth and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections, the DMK-Congress combine is on the backfoot in Tamil Nadu.
An indisposed Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi is unlikely to share the dais with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her rallies Wednesday.

DMK insiders admit the party is seriously handicapped.

“Our supporters are emotionally linked to ‘Kalaignar’ (Karunanidhi) and his inability to campaign is a dampener despite our sterling performance on socio-politico-economic and international (Sri Lanka) fronts,” a DMK minister, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.

The DMK, Congress, PMK and the Left parties fought the 2004 elections jointly and won all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, dealing a humiliating blow to the AIADMK, which has vowed to hit back this time.

Five years later, the tables have turned with the Left parties and the PMK aligning with the AIADMK.

According to DMK sources, Karunanidhi may address a rally live from his hospital bed or residence to avoid strain.

Karunanidhi has so far addressed only one election meeting. He fell ill Sunday and is expected to be confined to the hospital for one or two more days.

According to police sources, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul are set to address meetings in Chennai and in Puducherry Wednesday under heavy security.

Virtually the entire Tamil Nadu political spectrum has accused the Congress of covertly aiding Sri Lanka’s military offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which is outlawed in India.

Workers of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), a DMK ally and rabidly pro-LTTE, attacked their Congress counterparts at the latter’s headquarters here a few months ago.

Congress workers are said to be working against VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan in Chidambaram constituency. The latter are returning the compliment in neighbouring Puducherry.

AIADMK leader Jayalalitha has termed the VCK presence in the Congress grouping “a strange alliance between sympathisers of the assassins of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his widow”.

Buttressed by the presence of the PMK, MDMK and the two main Left parties in its front, the AIADMK is confident of bagging a majority of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu — and also Pudhucherry’s lone seat.

Actor-turned-politician Vijaykant’s DMDK is fighting on its own. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is unlikely to win any seat in Tamil Nadu.

The situation has clearly changed since December when the DMK-Congress combine won the Tirumangalam assembly by-election with a sizeable margin.

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