Chennai: The BJP, which had stitched a rainbow alliance during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is keen on taking some of its old allies including the estranged ally PMK on board for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. BJP is determined to improve upon its tally of one seat won in 2014 to a modest number this time. It is likely to contest from about 12 to 15 seats including South Chennai and in the process would allot a few seats to PMK and DMDK when they join later, from its stock.
In all likelihood, on its own, the party will contest from 9 seats accommodating some of the senior leaders and the constituencies have been so chosen to ensure representation from various parts of the state. In stark contrast to the situation leading to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the state leaders now have hardly any role to play in negotiating alliance as the scene has shifted to New Delhi. Union railways minister Piyush Goyal who holds the finance portfolio too, is the election in-charge for the state and he has been negotiating with the ruling AIADMK and other regional parties, leaving hardly any scope for the state seniors to directly mediate.
His master-stroke could be seen in his letter to PMK leader Dr Anbumani Ramadoss dated February 4 informing him of the sanction for the new railway line between Morappur and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu at an estimated cost of `358.95 crore. Dr Anbumani had won from Dharmapuri while in alliance with the BJP. The timing of the announcement is to indicate that both the BJP and AIADMK want the PMK as electoral ally and not allow the opposition DMK to gain a wee bit, a BJP senior said.
“The PMK may insist upon contesting from Puducherry Lok Sabha constituency this time too and we may be able to accommodate it by convincing the AIADMK,” the senior leader said. Apart from Puducherry, the PMK may be allotted five seats in Tamil Nadu and sources said Dr K. Krishnaswamy founder of Puthiya Thamizhagam might be given the Tenkasi seat to contest on Two Leaves symbol of the AIADMK.
“We don’t see any problem in convincing the DMDK. We are awaiting the return of its founder Vijayakanth from US this month-end. If he concedes, his party may be allotted a couple of seats from the BJP’s stock,” he added.
The party is negotiating for South Chennai, Sriperumbudur, Sivagangai, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli and Tiruvallur seats for Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, L. Ganesan, H. Raja, Pon Radhakrishnan, C.P. Radhakrishnan, Vanathi Srinivasan, Karuppu Muruganadam, Nainar Nagendran and Murugan.
There are a total of 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone Puducherry seat. The AIADMK under the leadership of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had won 37 seats in Tamil Nadu. While Mr Radhakrishnan won from Kanyakumari, Dr Anbumani got elected from Dharmapuri. In Puducherry, R. Radhakrishnan of All India N.R Congress had won the election in 2014....