DMDK founder Vijayakanth, more popular as 'captain', launched his political party in 2005 amid much fanfare and expectations, touting it as an alternative to DMK and AIADMK. In its nine years of journey, DMDK has had its share of ups and downs, even as it has turned out to be the most wooed party for an alliance, which was evident in the recent BJP-led coalition where the saffron party had to burn the midnight oil to clinch a deal with him.
Protracted negotiations and PMK's old rivalry with DMDK, besides overlapping of wish-list constituencies threatened to derail seat-sharing agreement even as DMK and Congress were said to be prepared to accommodate the party even at the last minute.
However, BJP had the better of PMK, prevailing upon it to sacrifice key seats including Salem where the Vanniyar-backed party had set its eyes for a possible victory and had even announced its nominee. The two Dravidian parties have enough reasons to worry since DMDK has in the earlier elections lived up to its reputation of being a 'spoiler' and splitting votes.
It turned out to be the nemesis of the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK in 2006 (Assembly) and 2009 (Lok Sabha) polls, eating into her party's votes, allowing either DMK or its allies win the elections or resulting in AIADMK candidates winning by relatively small margins only.
In 2006 the party won only one seat, with Vijayakanth himself being elected from Vriddhachalam constituency, though he fielded candidates for all 234 seats, but secured an eight per cent vote share. The then ruling AIADMK was defeated.