Tamil Nadu polls: What if People's Welfare Front wins less seats than number of parties it has?

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DMDK chief and the People's Welfare Front's (PWF) chief ministerial candidate Vijaykanth has said in an interview that parties like the AIADMK, DMK and BJP offered money to him and the saffron party even adding the CM's post with the offer. He said still he went with the PWF. [Opinion polls 2016]

Assembly Polls 2016 Coverage

The actor-politician said a few days ago that all the pre-poll surveys for this year's election make little sense as he alleged them to be manipulated by either of the two dominant parties. [Is refugee issue losing appeal in TN politics?]

Vaiko, chief of the MDMK which is also a part of the six-party alliance, harboured similar thoughts. He asked the people to throw the pre-poll surveys into the dustbin.

vaiko vijaykanth vasan

No pre-poll survey has predicted PWF as winner

The frustration of the two top leaders of the front is understandable. The front initially looked to be a potential challenger to the dominant Dravidian duo but with the passage of time, the front is being discussed less. The Times Now-CVoter pre-polls survey in April had given the DMDK and the front 14 seats. But that was about it. Neither of the latest pre-poll surveys has given an outside chance to the Vijaykanth-led front with some even predicting a single-digit tally for the six-party alliances.

If PWF wins less number of seats than the number of parties it has

Will the PWF, which has given a new dimension to the otherwise bi-polar contest in Tamil Nadu, get seats numbering even less than the number of parties it feature? If May 19 shows such an outcome, it would be a serious devastation for the voices aspiring for a non-AIADMK and non-DMK alternative in the southern state.

Apart from eating into the Dravidian parties' vote-share, the PWF has little chance

Apart from making the DMK's mission to beat the AIADMK, which is fighting anti-incumbency this year, tougher---the PWF doesn't really look to be able to do much. To begin with, the PWF in itself never looked a potent force. Vaiko had announced about the PWF in October last year and it comprised four parties then---MDMK, VCK, CPI(M) and CPI.

The idea was to promote it as a third alternative though with its constituent parties' strength too limited, it was never reckoned to be a force.

PWF had little importance still Vijaykanth and Vasan joined it

The front came more in news with the joining of the DMDK, though Vijayakanth had said earlier that he would contest alone. The DMDK even saw a split over this decision but the Captain stuck to his position and was made the CM candidate of the front. A few days later, GK Vasan's Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) also joined the front and it made it look weightier.

The TMC though wanted to contest the poll with the AIADMK but Jayalalithaa's insistence on it contesting on the latter's two-leaves symbol made Vasan, a former Congressman, change his track and join the PWF. The coming of Vijaykanth and Vasan brought the PWF in the headlines and ignited the imagination but did it ever have any realistic chance apart from making some dents in the main two parties' vote-share?

The alliance has little common grounding

The PWF is not being identified as a true challenger to either Jayalalithaa or Karunanidhi because it has no firm ground. As experts have called it an "opportunistic alliance" instead of a "natural" one, the constituent parties of the PWF lack a common ground.

Parties like DMDK and MDMK always look for opportunities

The Dalit-based VCK and the two Left parties can still be identified with an ideological grounding, but the DMDK and MDMK can by no means make any ideological claims. These parties have been found allying with Jayalalithaa in the past and this time too, there were reports about a possible tie-up between the MDMK and DMK but it did not happen.

Various parties, including the BJP, have eyed an alliance with the DMDK to cash in on Vijaykanth's steady vote-share but given the actor-politicians unpredictable politics, that vote-share could decline in this election. And if that happens, the PWF will certainly sink without a trace.

Not easy for Vasan either

For the other V of the front---Vasan, too, it will not be easy. Vasan, a former Union minister, quit the Congress in 2014 and returned to Tamil Nadu to revive the TMC which was set up by his father, the late GK Moopanar.

But for Vasan, who has always taken the Rajya Sabha route to the Cabinet and is contesting his first election, it will not be a smooth sail. Moreover, the allotment of a new poll symbol to his party (coconut grove) may also nullify the sentiments associated with his late popular father during whose time the party had a bicycle as its symbol, to a certain degree.

Every chance of the allies leaving if PWF is trounced

The worst part is that if the PWF is indeed trounced in this election, the allies could be seen deserting each other in no time to find an alternative arrangement. The lack of a binding is a reason enough to see that happening. There is every possibility of the Left parties going to the Congress's way and the VCK inching towards the DMK's fold as the stepping stone for the next big test---the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

As for the DMDK, nobody knows which way the Captain would prefer if his chief ministerial ambition remains unfulfilled this time as well. We have seen how the NDA fell apart after the 2014 general elections as the DMDK, MDMK and PMK left the BJP's fold one by one.

Who can guarantee that the PWF will not have a different fate this time?

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