Twenty-five years after breaking away from the DMK, the likelihood of the MDMK led by Vaiko contesting on the ‘Rising Sun’ symbol of the DMK in the Lok Sabha has obviated the distinction between the two Dravidian parties.
The MDMK, which initially contested on the ‘umbrella’ symbol and later on the ‘top’ symbol, lost the Election Commission’s recognition following its poor electoral performance in the last two elections. Consequently, it has no dedicated poll symbol of its own.
For retaining its recognition as a State party, a political party must have secured at least six per cent of either of the total votes polled in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly election, and should have won at least two seats in the Assembly election. Alternatively, it should have won three per cent of the total number of seats in the Assembly, or three seats, whichever is more. In Tamil Nadu, which has 234 seats, a party has to win seven seats.
The MDMK did not secure the requisite six per cent of the total votes polled in the State either in the 2014 Lok Sabha election or the 2016 Assembly election. It polled only 0.9% in 2016 when it entered the fray as part of the People’s Welfare Front and did not win in any constituency.
Though Mr Vaiko walked away with nine district secretaries of the DMK after his expulsion, his political strategy of switching alliance in elections failed to pay dividends in the way he expected. While the DMK and AIADMK retained their base, the emergence of new political parties also denied the space for MDMK.
Two days ago Mr Vaiko told The Hindu that his priority was to save the Dravidian Movement from the onslaught of the BJP and other Hindutva forces.
K. Thirunavukkarasu, historian of the Dravidian Movement, who once edited Sangoli, the official organ of the MDMK, echoed the views. “Sri Lankan Tamil Scholar K. Sivathampi once said that the DMK and the MDMK alone were responsible for spreading the Tamil nationalist feeling among the people. The coming together of the two parties will further strengthen the front against the BJP,” he said.
Mr Thirunavukkarasu said the DMK had asked the alliance partners to contest on the Rising Sun symbol since its share of seats had come down drastically after accommodating more parties and allotting more seats to them. “The DMK should have a strong presence in the Lok Sabha. That is why it should have asked VCK and MDMK to contest on the Rising Sun symbol,” he said.