It all started after DMK president MK Stalin promised to offer compartmental reservation to Vanniyars within the 20 per cent quota of MBCs if elected in 2021. Stalin’s promise has caught the PMK off guard. PMK founder Dr Ramadoss and his lieutenants, who have been demanding compartmental reservation for Vanniyars for long, could neither publicly denounce nor avoid supporting Stalin’s idea.
A ‘surprised’ Ramadoss had to be content with calling Stalin anti-Vanniyar and declared that the community was not curry leaf to be discarded after use and they would not be fooled by the DMK’s poll promise.
Ironically, reactionary statements of the PMK, which is the only trump card the ruling AIADMK has pinned its hopes on in Vikravandi, was negated by its earlier felicitation of former DMK president M Karunanidhi for including Vanniyars in 20 per cent MBC quota. Any attempt to criticize Stalin was responded with Ramadoss’s old statement that Vanniyars would be grateful to him for extending reservation even without receiving a request.
Dharmapuri MP Senthilkumar who had defeated Anbumani Ramadoss in Vanniyar bastion even made efforts to tweet Ramadoss’ adoration of Karunanidhi, calling him the only leader, after Periyar and Ambedkar, to dedicate his life to social justice.
Cuddalore (East) district secretary of DMK MRK Panneerselvam joined the issue and said the PMK founder would live to see his leader Stalin become CM in 2021 with Vanniyar’s support.
That the DMK has gained one-upmanship on the Vikravandi campaign trail was evident from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami making a brief statement on the reservation issue and leaving it to his alliance partner PMK to do all the talking. The ruling AIADMK, which has been weak in the northern belts, has a reason to be eerily silent on the issue, for, a recall of the past would also reveal the MGR rule which shot 21 Vanniyars dead.
Unsurprisingly, the DMK has now got its ally Congress MP Vishnu Prasad, brother-in-law of Anbumani Ramadoss, to also do the talking, while conveniently keeping its local district secretary K Ponmudi, a non-Vanniyar, relatively silent on the issue.