‘Move should not be seen as a ‘political decision’, but one taken due to practical difficulties’
The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that it would contest the upcoming local body elections for nine districts scheduled on October 6 and 9 alone.
The decision came as a surprise since the AIADMK had accommodated the PMK’s demand for the 10.5% internal quota for Vanniyars within the Most Backward Class in the run up to the Assembly election in 2021 by passing a law in the legislative assembly.
However, sources in the party said this need not be seen as a “political decision”, but one that was taken due to practical difficulties of “not having enough time” to co-ordinate with allies.
“The decision doesn’t mean that we are moving away from the AIADMK alliance. We are still a part of NDA. We just have two weeks and it would be near impossible for us to conclude seat-sharing negotiations with our allies. That’s why the party leadership has decided to contest alone,” said the party spokesperson, K. Balu.
He said the party cadre were insistent on getting a good chance to contest the elections. “We still have a cordial relationship with the AIADMK. The PMK’s decision is primarily related to providing opportunities to our cadre and due to a lack of time,” said Mr. Balu.
In a letter to the cadre on Wednesday, PMK founder S. Ramadoss said the dreams of last year had become a reality this year.
“The demands that were spoken of with sadness last year are being spoken of with happiness now,” he said, noting how the demand for separate reservations for Vanniyars since the 1980s had become a reality in 2021.
Dr. Ramadoss also urged the cadre to honour the lives of the 21 people who died in the protests demanding 20% reservation for the Vanniyar community
“Though we were instrumental in getting 20% reservations, Vanniyars did not benefit, even as the other communities reaped its benefits. Last year, we kickstarted protests in six phases, starting in Chennai, to demand reservations, by PMK youthwing leader Anbumani Ramadoss. This was a turning point in the agitations,” he said.
DMDK founder Vijayakant on Wednesday invited applications from candidates willing to contest in the upcoming local body elections in nine districts.
The DMDK was part of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam alliance, along with AIMIM and SDPI.