At the Chennai cricket stadium, the opening day of the India-England Test itself saw the pitch revealing implosions. On the political field too in Chennai, as the state is poised for elections to the Tami Nadu Assembly, implosions in the ruling AIADMK too have come to the fore.
The party is rocked by desertions of some allies and internal rebellion across the state, with a rash of road rokos over ticket allocation, as predicted by The Federal. The Vijayakanth-led DMDK has walked out of the alliance, as also Samathuva Makkal Katvchi (SMK) led by actor Sarath Kumar, the Kongunadu Ilaignar Peravai, Mukkulathor Pulippadai and Manidhaneya Jananayaga Katchi (MJK). The AIADMK is torn asunder by the jockeying of rival groups owing allegiance to chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS).
As indicated by The Federal two weeks ago, the DMDK protested against the excessive importance given to the PMK by the AIADMK and demanded a few seats more than the 23 given to the PMK. The DMDK was shocked when the AIADMK initially offered only a single-digit figure and did not move beyond 11 to 13 seats. Several rounds of parleys failed to bring about a solution, forcing an angry Vijayakanth to announce a break in ties.
The DMDK entered into negotiations with Kamal Haasan’s MDMK and the TTV Dinakaran-led AMMK but talks failed over issues like chief ministerial candidate and the number of seats to be contested by the DMDK. On March 11, the DMDK withdrew from talks with these two parties and indicated a front of its own.
On March 11, the AIADMK finalised arrangements with a number of small parties to compensate for the loss of DMDK, giving away nearly a dozen seats, with the condition that they would contest on the AIADMK symbol.
However, the ruling party was left red-faced as the spectre of revolt loomed large. TV channels had a field day, reporting the outbreak of protests all across the state right from Ramanathapuram in deep South to Chennai where a bunch of partymen managed to stage a demonstration against the Egmore seat being given to John Pandian of the Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam.
On March 11 and 12, road rokos were staged by partymen against the allotment of Poonamallee, Vridhachalam and Gumidipoondi to the AIADMK ally, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). On the other hand, PMK men protested against the Pappireddipatti seat going to the AIADMK instead of the PMK.
Likewise, AIADMK men were on the streets against the Tiruppur South constituency being allotted to the BJP.
While some seniors of the OPS group find place in the candidates’ list, a few of his supporters have raised a banner of revolt against denial of party tickets.
Protests by Ramanathapuram MLA against ticket to BJP. MLA Rajavarman in Sattur, road rook against Madurantakam candidate Maragatham Kumaravel, AIADMK MLA Thoppu Venkatachalam protesting against denial of ticket, a road rook In Kumbakonam demanding revocation of allotment of seat to MMK, dominated election coverage by TV channels on March 11 and March 12.
There was also the off threat of setting themselves on fire against the party decision. Dissidence hit PMK too as Vanniyar Sangam secretary Vaithi quit the party on the issue of seat allocation. The seat given to PMK spokesman Balu was also questioned by several partymen.