DMK to go it alone in local polls

For the DMK-Congress alliance, the end seems to be near. In a late-night statement on Wednesday, DMK chief and former chief minister M Karunanidhi said his party would contest the next local body polls on its own, raising questions about the future of the seven-year-old alliance that has been in tatters ever since the party was tangled in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Karunanidhi explained the decision "that has been taken after deep introspection", stating that unlike elections to Parliament and the Assembly, local body polls were not as much about political principles as about basic civic needs of the public, though not all are willing to buy it.

There has been a clamour from several Congress leaders to go it alone in the local body polls, an idea mooted by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi as per his plans to develop the party from the grassroots. This was strengthened by the humiliating defeat that the alliance suffered in the last Assembly polls which reduced all partners to the margins.

The vociferous and sometimes infuriating barbs by sections of the national party had forced the DMK into taking a calibrated stand, which was made clear by the unfavourable positions it took on various issues including on the question of bringing the Prime Minister under the ambit of the proposed Lokpal Bill. According to analysts, the present decision to contest on its own stemmed from the recent skirmishes within the coalition.

The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which contested the Assembly elections in alliance with the DMK, has already broken off, blaming the lead partner for the loss, while another ally, VCK, has remained indifferent to the coalition.

Last time, these parties contested the local body elections together and won handsomely, though the methods it adopted were widely criticised.

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