BJP-AIADMK talks on seat sharing end in deadlock

Sources said the BJP had handed over to the AIADMK a list of regions where it would like to field more candidates

Chennai: Parleys on seat-sharing between the AIADMK and BJP for the Urban Local Body elections, to be held on February 19, ended in a deadlock on Saturday with both the sides exuding confidence on continuing the negotiations and arriving at a solution soon.

A team of BJP honchos, led by State President K Annamalai, went to the AIADMK headquarters at Lloyds Road in Chennai and held talks for over three hours with top leaders of that party but could not arrive at an agreement on the number of total seats and also on the allocation of wards.

Emerging from the discussions, Annamalai told the media that the BJP had placed a demand for more seats and that the talks would continue. He said the AIADMK was performing its role as an opposition party well, thus ruling out any strain in the alliance.

Asked about the high demand for seats put forth by the BJP, AIADMK former Minister D Jayakumar said that they had every right to ask but the final numbers would be arrived at after further discussions on the issue.

Sources said the BJP had handed over to the AIADMK a list of regions where it would like to field more candidates and the Corporations that it would wish to contest in large numbers and capture the Mayor post. Coimbatore and Nagercoil Corporations are said to be in BJP’s wish list.

Brushing aside the BJP demand for posts of Mayors and Chairpersons in Municipalities and Town Panchayats, the AIADMK had said that the agenda on the table was to finalize the seats for the wards and the other things could wait for the direct elections to be over.

Earlier, the BJP had set the ball rolling by quoting 25 per cent seats in the State, which was quickly declined by the AIADMK. Though the BJP came down and asked for 15 per cent, the AIADMK is said to have stuck to its not more than 10 per cent stand, which peeved the BJP team.

Those who participated in the talks included AIADMK top leaders like coordinator O Panneerselvam, co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami, Vaithilingam, Munusamy, Jayakumar and S P Velumani and BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan, C P Radhakrishnan, Sudhakar Reddy and Vanathi Sreenivasan.

Another ally of the AIADMK had also submitted a list of seats that it would like to field candidates in. A team of TMC leaders had handed over the list at the party office, it is learnt.

In the rival political camp, even as discussions were on at the district level, VCK general secretary Thol Thirumavalavan called on DMK President M K Stalin to demand for more seats for his party.

Thirumavalavan later told the media that the talks were smooth and that he hoped that his demand for an adequate number of seats for his party would be favorably considered by the alliance leader. He had even demanded top posts like Mayor and Chairperson in the urban local bodies, he said.

Other parties like the Congress, CPI and CPM are talking with the district leaders to finalize the seats at the local level. TNCC President K S Alagiri had reportedly instructed his district leaders to brief him about the final tally of seats before signing the agreement at their level.

Some functionaries of the Vijay Makkal Iyakkam, which has announced that it would field candidates in the coming elections, met the State Election Commissioner with a demand to allot the ‘auto rickshaw’ symbol to all its candidates across the State.

However, they were briefed about the election rules, under which such common symbols could be allotted only to the registered political parties and not to other groups. The Makkal Iyakkam is registered as a political party.

Among the political parties that are going it alone, Makkal Neethi Maiam released its fourth list of candidates and the PMK started interviewing aspirants for the elections.

Naam Tamilar Katchi Chief Coordinator, Seeman, however, did not say anything relating to the elections but releasing statements expressing support for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.

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