Tamil Nadu Assembly polls: After MDMK, VCK to contest on own symbol, not DMK’s

VCK spokesperson Vanni Arasu said there is no disagreement within the alliance and the decision to contest on a separate symbol has been taken to strengthen the party. 

After MDMK chief Vaiko, the leader of another DMK-led alliance partner, VCK’s Thol Thirumavalavan, has announced they will contest the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls under a separate symbol.

Both Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) have been part of the DMK camp since the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Thirumavalavan confirmed his party’s stand Sunday when he visited Puducherry to congratulate Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy on a new education initiative, under which the government will fund higher and professional education of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students irrespective of their family income.

Vaiko had announced his decision on January 1, when he said his party would contest under their own symbol to ‘maintain individuality’.

Political experts believe that small parties in the DMK alliance had agreed to contest under its ‘Rising Sun’ symbol in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to defeat the BJP-led NDA. However, in the state election, they have the responsibility to secure their own vote share, along with recognition from the Election Commission.

In 2001, Thirumavalavan contested Assembly polls on the DMK symbol and won. However, he resigned as MLA within three years, citing differences with then DMK president Kalaignar Karunanidhi.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, VCK spokesperson Vanni Arasu said there is no disagreement within the alliance and the decision to contest on an individual symbol has been taken to strengthen their party.

“Except in 2001, in all Assembly elections, we have contested on our symbol. VCK is an individual party; we have our identity and ideology. Contesting on a separate symbol has nothing to do with the alliance. DMK never put pressure on us to contest on their symbol,” he said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which the DMK-led alliance registered a landslide victory, VCK was allocated two seats. While writer D Ravikumar contested on DMK’s Rising Sun symbol, party chief Thirumavalavan contested on an individual symbol (Pot). The former won by a difference of more than 1 lakh votes against PMK’s Vadivel Ravanan, but Thirumavalavan managed a slender victory of 3,000 votes against AIADMK’s P Chandrasekar.

When asked whether VCK had the potential to attract votes on their own symbol, Vanni Arasu sounded confident.

“People have been voting for DMK and AIADMK for the past several decades. For a party like us, victory is more important than the margin. In 2019, we were allocated the Pot symbol at the last minute, but our leader still managed to win. That is the potential of this party. The VCK cadre wanted our candidates to contest on their own symbol, and our leader has honoured that wish,” Arasu added.

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