The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (AIADMK), which looked vulnerable and weak till Monday sprang a surprise on Tuesday by forming a mega-alliance with the BJP and the PMK to fight the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The BJP would contest five out of the total 39 seats at stake from Tamil Nadu, while the PMK has been allocated seven seats.
But the efforts to rope in DMDK leader Vijayakanth into the AIADMK-led front remained a non-starter as the efforts by the BJP leader Piyush Goyal who is in charge of Tamil Nadu BJP did not bear fruit despite an hour-long discussion with the former.
“In politics, there is something by name personal human relationship also. My visit was to enquire about the health and well being of Vijayakanth and wish him all the best. My Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah had asked me to convey their regards to Vijayakanth,” Goyal said while speaking to reporters after the meeting. He also disclosed that alliance talks would continue with the DMDK leadership.
Tuesday morning saw S Ramadoss, the founder of the PMK, accompanied by his entourage of party leaders, driving down to Hotel Crown Plaza in Chennai where Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam were waiting for him.
Within minutes of exchanging pleasantries, the AIADMK and the PMK signed a deal allocating seven Lok Sabha constituencies to the latter. It was also agreed to allocate a Rajya Sabha seat to the PMK while the latter would support the AIADMK in the bypolls to be held on 21 Assembly seats in the State.
Tuesday turned out to be the birth-star day of Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK supremo who ruled the party with an iron hand till she breathed her last on December 5, 2016. Union Minister for Railways and Power Piyush Goyal who flew down to Chennai on Tuesday and he also drove down to the hotel for a meeting with Edappadi Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam for firming up the alliance between the Hindutva party and the AIADMK.
The discussion between the AIADMK and the BJP lasted for more than two hours giving an indication that some hard bargaining could have taken place in the board room of the star hotel. The announcement about the AIADMK-BJP alliance was made by Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam at 4.45pm (past the inauspicious Rahu Kaalam which ended at 4.30 pm).
“The AIADMK and the BJP hereby announce the formation of a mega alliance in Tamil Nadu. We have allocated five seats to the BJP in the ensuing Lok Sabha election while the BJP would support as in the remaining seats and in the 21 Assembly constituencies where by-polls would be held,” said Panneerselvam.
Goyal told reporters after the meeting that the BJP karyakartas would work sincerely for the success of all 40 seats (39 from Tamil Nadu and the lone seat from Puducherry). “We will win all the 40 seats,” said Goyal. He also said that while the BJP would be part of the AIADMK-led front in Tamil Nadu, the constituents of the front led by the AIADMK have resolved to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by being the part of the National Democratic Alliance. Goyal and the AIADMK leaders said that the constituencies to be contested by the parties would be disclosed in due course.
The forging of the mega alliance by the AIADMK has not gone well with the DMK and its allies, if the initial reactions from Stalin and other front partners are any indication. “Ramadoss has sold the interests of the people of Tamil Nadu by joining hands with the BJP and the AIADMK,” charged MK Stalin, the DMK chief. Thol Thirumavalavan, the VCK founder, said that the PMK’s move to join the AIADMK led front would strengthen the DMK front.
Ramesh, veteran columnist and political commentator pointed out that the DMK camp was upset over the formation of the AIADMK-led front. “Stalin has been scarred because it is not going to be a cakewalk for him in the election. The AIADMK front would put up a good fight and may end up with double digits in the election results,” said Ramesh.
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