The AIADMK, which is trying to retain power in Tamil Nadu, is expecting a windfall from the northern part of Tamil Nadu, where the OBC Vanniyar community has a major strength.
The Patali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founded by the Vanniyar leader Dr S. Ramdoss has deep inroads in the Vanniyar vote bank and the party was able to successfully negotiate with the AIADMK government to implement a 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community in the government jobs and admission to educational institutions. This reservation is within the Most Backward Class status which has been the long pending demand of the PMK.
The AIADMK government led by K. Paliniswami had cleared the 10.5 percentage reservation for the Vanniyar community hours before the election notification was announced.
The PMK, which was founded in 1996, had joined alliance with both the DMK and AIADMK and had enjoyed power at the state and Central governments with the PMK leader and son of Dr S. Ramdoss, Anbumani Ramdoss becoming a Union minister for Health in the Vajpayee government.
The alliance with the PMK will be one of the major plus points for the AIADMK in this election as the party has a dedicated vote bank of 5 per cent in several constituencies of North and West Tamil Nadu. This vote bank has exactly been the main focus of the AIADMK to enter in a political alliance with the PMK.
C. Rajeev of the Central for Policy and Development Studies, a Chennai based Think tank while speaking to IANS said, “The PMK always has a dedicated voter base and this has been the criteria of all the mainstream political parties to enter into an alliance with that party.”
With elections tight and the DMK having entered into alliance with the Congress, MDMK, CPI-M, CPI, the AIADMK was trying for options and, hence entered into an alliance with the PMK and BJP to retain power in Tamil Nadu.
Interestingly, it is to be noted that the AIADMK leaders are not mentioning publicly about the 10.5 per cent Vanniyar reservation in Tamil Nadu. The party fears that there would be a backlash from other communities, including other backward communities with the PMK leader and former Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss openly campaigning that he would strive for reservation to other backward caste communities.