AIADMK, PMK now target Tamil Nadu, Puducherry governments

By T.S.V. Hari, IANS,

Chennai : Buoyed by their seat-sharing agreement for the Lok Sabha polls, the AIADMK and the PMK are setting their eyes on bringing down the DMK-led ministry in Tamil Nadu and the Congress government in the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry.

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AIADMK and PMK, which worked out a seat-sharing arrangement Saturday, may try to oust the Puducherry ministry before the one-day voting for the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in the union territory scheduled for May 13.

In Tamil Nadu, the two parties are still debating whether they should try it before or after the Lok Sabha poll, where they expect to do better than the DMK-led alliance.

The AIADMK is all set to move a motion of no-confidence against the Puducherry government shortly, leader of the party’s legislature wing in the union territory A. Anbazhagan told IANS hours ahead of the official announcement on the Lok Sabha seat sharing arrangement.

The Congress ministry in Puducherry has a precarious majority.

“The dissident group led by former chief minister N. Rangasamy is said to have three members in its fold, bringing the tally of those who can clearly vote against the government to 15. Regardless of the nominated members being allowed/not allowed to vote, the regime’s majority wavers between one and two in the house of 30 (elected) plus three (nominated) because two belong to the AIADMK and CPI (Communist Party of India),” Anbazhagan said.

The opposition parties in the Puducherry assembly have a combined strength of 12, of which AIADMK, PMK and Puducherry Makkal Congress have three members each, CPI two and MDMK two.

The DMK-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Tamil Nadu is better placed in the numbers game but Congress bashing by a supporting party over the Sri Lankan issue can cause trouble.

“Though the situation in Tamil Nadu is slightly different from Puducherry, here too we can bank on Congress members unhappy over DMK’s reluctance to sever ties with Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), a hardcore LTTE supporter,” a senior PMK leader told IANS requesting anonymity.

VCK, led by Thol Thirumavalavan, has support among Dalits. Besides strident support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Thirumavalavan has been unsparing in attacking the Congress and the UPA government over the Sri Lankan crisis.

“The DMK government has the effective support of 132 members (96 DMK, 35 Congress and one VCK) in the 231-member assembly where four seats are vacant. The opposition has 96 members (AIADMK 60, PMK 18, two Left parties 14, MDMK three and DMDK one).

“At least 11 Congress legislators are nursing serious grievances over VCK’s continuance in the alliance. These members and some more Congress members can be won over as and when we move a no-confidence motion against the government,” the PMK leader said.

DMK does not seem worried over the moves.

“The governments in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have comfortable majorities. The opposition may try to bring down the two governments but it will fail,” DMK spokesperson K. Subbu asserted when asked about the threat to the governments from the new combine of AIADMK and PMK.