CHENNAI: The Election Commission of India’s announcement of April 6 as the date for elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry triggered hectic discussions on seat sharing between the various parties in the two major alliances led by the Dravidian majors, DMK and AIADMK, on Saturday.
BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, including G. Kishan Reddy, L. Murugan and C.
T. Ravi, too held talks with AIADMK leaders and demanded at least 25 seats for their party. It was indeed a big climb down as the BJP was initially asking for 40 seats.
However, it is believed that Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam would call on Union Home Minister Amit Shah when he visits Chennai and finalise the seat sharing.
When Kamal was asked about the Congress joining it, he gave an ambiguous answer that triggered speculations of the Congress tying up with MNM.
Also the possibility of the third coalition emerging was visible with the actor Sarathkumar’s All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi calling on Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan and exploring the potential for a third front in Tamil Nadu.
Sarathkumar claimed that the AIADMK did not even call the party for talks. Leader of the India Janayaka Katchi (IJK), who are now part of the DMK-led coalition, are also negotiating with the MNM for an alliance as
the party is peeved over the less number of seats offered.
Similarly, the DMDK, founded by actor Vijayakanth, is also angry with the AIADMK, protested against the hike in petrol and diesel prices. But later on top leaders of the AIADMK called on Vijaykanth to appease him and request him to continue with the alliance.
The PMK, an ally of the AIADMK, was the only party that finalised its alliance by agreeing for 23 seats, which would be identified later on, and thanking the ruling party for bringing in the 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community.
The meeting between the PMK and AIADMK was held at a star hotel in Chennai. The two parties are fighting an Assembly election together after 2001, pointed out Anbumani Ramadoss, who said that the PMK agreed for lesser number of seats because the 10.5 per cent exclusive quota for Vanniyars was announced by AIADMK government.
In the DMK camp, the talks with the Congress have been put on hold as
the TNCC leaders have rushed to southern Tamil Nadu in view of Rahul
Gandhis’ visit. Their talks on seat-sharing had hit a road block as the DMK
had only offered them only 15 to 20 seats and the Congress had told them
that they will get back after discussing the issue with the high command.