CHENNAI: DMK, which played a crucial role in installing Third Front governments at the Centre in 1989 and in 1996, appears not too enthused with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's call for all non-BJP and non- Congress parties to unite ahead of the 2019 general elections.
DMK working president, who received a call from Mamata Banerjee on Sunday, said the party was part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and any decision on alliance would be taken only by the high-level committee before elections.
“Mamata Banerjee called me on Sunday (regarding the Third Front). Since elections are more than a year away, I told her that we (DMK) will discuss in the high-level committee and announce its decision,” Stalin told reporters here on Tuesday.
To a question whether Third Front was necessary, Stalin said DMK was part of the UPA. “In this situation, they have made a request. Since elections are one year away, we will discuss and then answer them,” Stalin said.
DMK has been in an alliance with the Congress since 2004, except from 2013 to 2016 when the two parties broke ranks after disagreement on sensitive Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The DMK has been playing a major role at the national level since 1989 when its chief M. Karunanidhi became one of the regional leaders to propose V. P. Singh for prime ministership and his party eventually joined the government.
Again in 1996 and 1997, the party supported the United Front government led by H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral and was part of the administration.
Breaking ranks with the Third Front, DMK became part of the NDA under A.B. Vajpayee and enjoyed power from 1998 to 2003. Later, the DMK shared power with the Congress from 2004 to 2013 at the Centre.
Mamata had on Sunday called Stalin and proposed the idea of regional parties coming together ahead of the 2019 polls to create a “strong bloc” against the BJP and Congress.