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A sulking Stalin dismisses exit polls
Tamil Nadu

A sulking Stalin dismisses exit polls

S.Murari

The DMK president M K Stalin on Monday shrugged off exit polls which predicted a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a split verdict in Tamil Nadu.

Talking to reporters, he said:“We don’t believe in exit polls. We are waiting for the results which will be known in three days”.

Asked about proposed meeting of non-BJP, pro-Congress opposition leaders in New Delhi, he snapped:”Who told you the opposition parties are meeting on23rd? Such a meeting will be useful only after counting is over.”

Asked whether he would join the next Government in Delhi, Stalin said ”You will know on May 24”. The exit polls have come as a great disappointment to Stalin who was the first not only take a strident anti-Modi stand after taking over formally as DMK president but simultaneously prop up Congress president Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister candidate of the secular front.

He was the first regional leader to project Rahul Gandhi when other parties like Telugu Desam, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were not ready to accept him.

Stalin had to take an anti -Modi stand as it was the Prime Minister who saved the AIADMK from going into the hands of Sasikala after the death of his close friend and former Chief Minister J Jayalalitha.

With eyes set on Chief Minister's chair for years, Stalin reckoned that if he had a Congress-led coalition at the Centre, he would be able to destabilise the Edappadi Palanisami Government. But Palanisami proved to be a shrewder politician by stitching together a more realistic alliance with the BJP, the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the Desiya Dravida Murpokku Kazhagam and Puthiya Tamizhagam, all of which except BJP have strong pockets of influence in Tamil Nadu.

Stalin on the other hand, gave away eight seats to the Congress plus the lone Puducherry seat to make his campaign for Rahul credible. He also gave two seats each to the communists and two to the Dalit outfit Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. These seats proved to be easy picking for the AIADMK and the BJP, leading to prediction that the AIADMK might win 7 and BJP three out of the 38 Lok Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu.

Despite the double incumbancy against Modi and Edappadi, Stalin has lost the best chance to sweep the polls at least in Tamil Nadu. He has also shown his lack of exposure to national politics, which was looked after by the Marans when Karunananihdi alive, by believing that, like the UPA, the Congress led coalition would also sweep the polls.

The Congress had bottomed out in Parliament unlike in 2014 when Sonia was at the helm and she was able to deny the Vajpayee Government a second term by forging a broad-based secular coalition under the United Progressive Alliance.

Rahul on the other hand, was caught by conflicting pulls. One was expanding the Congress base. Two, accommodate anti-BJP forces under Congress umbrella. In the end he split the anti-BJP vote in West Bengal and New Delhi, making Modi's return easy.

It remains to be seen whether the AIADMK, even if it gets a handful, will join the Modi 2 government though he may invite it to help the BJP expand in Tamil Nadu.