Fresh trouble for ADMK: What PMK demands and how it stirs the rift in the alliance?

In what could become fresh trouble for the Tamil Nadu ruling ADMK from one of the allied parties, the regional party of the state, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) has unveiled its political drama of demanding the ruling party to implement the Vanniyar quota in the government jobs. The Vanniyar voter base is pivotal for PMK and the demand from the regional party has come at a high time when the state is ahead of the assembly polls. 

The PMK has been in alliance with the ADMK since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and recently the PMK has rolled out its demand to the ruling party to uplift the Vanniyar community in its bid to offer its support to the ADMK in the upcoming assembly polls and to ensure to have its stronghold in its voter base. The regional party led by Dr. Ramadoss has demanded the ruling ADMK to provide a 20% quota for the Vanniyar community in government jobs. 

The PMK has urged the ruling party to meet its demand failing which it had threatened that it would stage protests against the government. With no positive response from the government in its demand and with the assembly polls fast-approaching, the PMK had decided to stage a protest against the ADMK in Chennai to demand reservation for the Vanniyar community in government jobs. 

Last week, the PMK has said that it would hold protests for its demand in Chennai against the government on Tuesday. The party has said that it will stage a protest before the office of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) on Tuesday and it has appealed to various organizations to show solidarity in its protest.  As announced, the supporters and members of the party had prepared for the protest in Chennai to gain wider attention. 

According to reports, the party's supporters from across the state had marched towards Chennai on Tuesday in hundreds of vehicles to stage protests in the city. The procession reached the Chennai border on the morning hours of Tuesday only to witness blockades from the police department. The law enforcement agency had stopped the attempt of the PMK in unveiling the protests as the Chennai police had sealed all eight entry points into the city. They had installed the barricades at the borders and stopped the PMK supporters to stage protests in Chennai. 

The barricades and the closures of the border had caused major disruptions in the movement of the vehicles in the outer ring of the city. The areas like Perungalathur, Vandalur, and Tambaram had witnessed heavy traffic jams as hundreds of vehicles were stuck in traffic in the wake of the border closures. The reports say that the PMK members had staged protests against the Chennai police for stopping them from holding the protests and the PMK supporters had pelted the stones on the trains and buses. The protesters had also blocked the highway in Perungalathur to counter the blockades by the police. 

The PMK has planned to hold protests near the TNPSC office on Tuesday -December 1. However, the police had denied its permission for protest across the city. Hundreds of police personnel were deployed at Monroe statue near the TNPSC office for security purposes. Around a hundred PMK members had gathered near the statue to protest against the police order. However, the police had detained them and lodged them in a marriage hall. 

The police department had said that around 5,000 police personnel have been deployed at all the entry points and the police team headed by the additional commissioner has been reviewing the vehicle movements and monitoring the vehicles at Perungalathur, which is the gateway of Chennai from southern districts. Earlier in October, Ramadoss announced that his party would hold large-scale and strong protests against the ruling ADMK after the COVID-19 outbreak was brought under control. 

Stirring a rift in the alliance, Ramadoss had flayed Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami for not raising its voice on issues of people's welfare and for not meeting its demand of providing a reservation quota for the Vanniyar community in the government jobs. The reports say that the scathing attack from Ramadoss against the ADMK had stirred strong speculations across the state and among the leaders of both the parties on whether the PMK Chief has decided to quit the alliance of the ruling party ahead of the assembly polls.