Before the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, all parties were hoping for an alliance with DMDK, despite them playing the guessing game. Vijayakanth, leader and founder of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) was considered to be the alternative force to DMK and AIADMK during the start of the campaign. However, the party was decimated when the results came in. People in the film fraternity entering politics in Tamil Nadu is not new. ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth also followed the strategy by strongly projecting himself as an alternative to the Dravidian parties and managed to strike a chord with the common man to some extent. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Popularity through films
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Vijayakanth’s DMDK loses status, actor resumes shooting In the ’80s, when Tamil cinema was ruled by Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Vijayakanth, an ordinary man from Madurai, made a name for himself. He was widely accepted and then gained a huge fan following to boot. One of his movies Chinna Gounder, that ran for more than a year in rural Tamil Nadu, created a new genre in the Tamil film industry. Stars began to take up films where they played village leaders and brought justice to the community. Amman Kovil Kizhakale, Senthoora Poove, Vaidhegi Kaathirunthaal were some of the films that made Vijayakanth a common household name. Most of his movies revolved around honesty, corruption and keeping up promises. He earned the nickname ‘Captain’ after the stupendous success of his film Captain Prabhakaran in 1991. The audience was impressed by his ability to perform fight scenes without having a body double. Rise in the political sphere
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu elections 2016: All you needed to know about DMDK’s VijayakanthFrom acting, Vijayakanth made the transition easily into politics in 2005 when he set up the DMDK. Despite the strong opposition and pessimism from many netizens, his determination won him a strong a voter base in the state. In 2006, the DMDK garnered over 10% vote share in its debut election. In 2011, Vijayakanth contested from Rishivandhiyam and won with a huge margin of over 30,000 votes. He also went in for an alliance with the AIADMK and won 29 MLAs. But he ran into rough weather after eight of his MLAs joined the ruling party AIADMK. Captain’s ship sinksHowever, in the run-up to the 2016 elections, Vijayankath projected himself as the CM candidate and this caused issues in possible alliances with other parties. His fan club leaders, who were the reason for his strong party base in the state, also left the party over his decision to not ally with the DMK. Numerous MLAs walked out of his party to join the DMK while others started another party.Meanwhile, other factors like his explosive and unclear speeches which were hard to decipher caused problems. He also became a subject for online trolls who mocked his speech and unstable actions in public. He was also extensively criticised for getting drunk during public meetings. The people and other leaders started to lose faith in him. His wife was seen as trying to lead the party from behind-the-scenes in the assembly elections. A senior functionary in the party speaking anonymously stated that when Premalatha and LK Sudhish took centrestage, numerous party members started to lose trust. In the run up to the 2016 Assembly elections, the DMDK then went into an alliance with the Peoples Welfare Front (PWF) and drew a complete blank in all the 232 constituencies it contested. The DMDK’s vote share dwindled to 2.4% in 2016 and the party garnered a little over 10 lakh votes. Vijayakanth himself finished a distant third in his Ullundurpet constituency and also lost his deposit. Now, Captain’s party is on the verge of losing its status as a party. As of now, Vijayakanth is likely to go back to completing his pending films. Whether the Captain will return to politics in the future, remains to be seen.


Decoding the rise and fall of DMDK’s Captain Vijayakanth