Chennai, May 12 (IANS) The Lok Sabha elections for the 39 constituencies in Tamil Nadu are crucial for the ruling DMK, which has outside support in the state from the Congress.
On Wednesday, over 40 million voters in Tamil Nadu will decide the fate of 824 candidates in the fifth and the last phase of the staggered Indian parliamentary elections.
In the fray are three alliances led by the DMK, the AIADMK and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The DMK front also consists of the Congress and the VCK.
The AIADMK-led alliance has the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the PMK, the MDMK.
The BJP front includes the Janata Party, the AISMK, the NMK, the Janata Dal-United, the DVK and the Bharatiya Forward Bloc.
The actor turned politician Vijaykant's DMDK is contesting in all the constituencies on its own.
The DMK is contesting from 21 constituencies, the Congress from 15, the VCK two and the Indian Union Muslim League from one.
The AIADMK is contesting from 23 constituencies, the PMK from six, MDMK four, the CPI and the CPI-M three each.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the DMK-led combine (the Congress, Left parties, the PMK, the MDMK) swept all the 40 Lok Sabha seats.
Riding on the successful alliance, the DMK front won the assembly elections in 2006.
However in 2009, the DMK-led coalition is unlikely to sail so smoothly as it did in the last two elections. Barring the Congress, all other alliance partners have moved over to Jayalalitha's AIADMK camp.
With a hung parliament likely, national parties have started poaching on regional parties to gather maximum MPs to form the government.
The Congress, despite being in alliance with the DMK, has said it is open to align with like minded parties, including the AIADMK, to form the government at the centre.
Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was non committal on the continuation of the Congress' pre-poll alliance in Tamil Nadu.
To a specific question from a journalist at a press meet here, Manmohan Singh said: 'As of now, we are fighting the elections with the DMK.'
The DMK government - with 96 legislators - needs the support of the Congress which has 34 members in the assembly.
The result of the Lok Sabha polls is likely to influence the future of the state government.
If the AIADMK-led coalition wins a sizeable number of seats and the Congress succeeds in grabbing its support at the centre, then one of the bargains will be the withdrawal of Congress support to the DMK government.
On the other hand, a good show by the Congress will give it a leverage to bargain for ministerial berths in the state government.
On the family front, Karunanidhi's son M.K. Azhagiri is contesting from Madurai while grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran is seeking re-election from Chennai Central.
Observers believe that Azhagiri is being sent to the Lok Sabha so that Karunanidhi's other son M.K. Stalin's accession to the chief ministership is smooth.
To balance the power equations within the family and retain power, the DMK would have to win a good number of seats.
The neighbouring Puducherry union territory also votes Wednesday where the main contest for its lone Lok Sabha seat is between the Congress and the PMK.
Read More: Madurai