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Rediff.com  » Election » Voters veto PMK's quick-change politics

Voters veto PMK's quick-change politics

May 16, 2009 22:15 IST
Switching alliance at the last minute proved too costly for the Paatali Makkal Katchi as it drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu.

The PMK, which has considerable clout in northern Tamil Nadu, ditched its allies the Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam at the eleventh hour and joined the All India Anna DMK-led alliance on March 26, just two months before the general elections.

However, the S Ramadoss-led party, which had contested seven seats, could not emerge victorious in even one, with its candidates losing by a huge margin.

PMK heavyweights R Velu, former minister of state for railways, and J Guru, whose alleged inflammatory speeches against Chief Minister M Karunanidhi led the DMK to sever ties with it, lost the polls by over one lakh votes. Velu lost from Vanniyar-dominated Arakkonam in northern Tamil Nadu by 1,10,083 votes to the DMK's Jagathratchagan who served the constituency from 1999-2004.

Another jolt to the party came when Guru, who is the leader of the Vanniyar Sangam, suffered a defeat at the hands of DMK veteran P Venugopal by a margin of 1,48,300 votes.

The party's senior leader A K Moorthy lost to the DMK's T R Baalu in Sriperumbudur in the suburbs of Chennai, and even Ramadoss's relative Dhanraj failed to emerge victorious. 

All the seven seats the PMK had contested fall in northern Tamil Nadu where the party has a vote share of nearly seven per cent and considerable clout among the dominant Vanniyar community.

The PMK came into existence in 1989 after the Vanniyar Sangam led by S Ramadoss organised a protest march and rallies across Tamil Nadu demanding Most Backward Class status for the community members.

This was not the first time that the PMK switched its allegiance on the eve of the polls, it had done so several times since 1998. This is the third time that the PMK fought the polls in alliance with the AIADMK. Both were constituents of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led front in the 1998 Lok Sabha polls. 
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