Chennai: On a day of swift political developments in Tamil Nadu, main opposition in the Assembly DMDK today opened parleys for a poll pact with BJP and the much-talked about AIADMK-Left parties alliance collapsed over road blocks in seat-sharing.
Ending days of speculation and backroom negotiations, the actor-turned politician Vijayakant-led DMDK today formally announced it has begun talks with the saffron party for an alliance to fight the April 24 Lok Sabha polls in the state which has 39 seats at stake.
“The DMDK has decided to contest the elections in alliance and has begun talks with BJP,” a brief party release said.
Though the DMDK did not elaborate on the number of seats it would bargain with BJP and other electoral issues, state BJP unit president Pon Radhakrishnan said, “We are happy DMDK had come out in the open about the talks it is holding with BJP.”
In the other major development, the alliance between the ruling AIADMK and CPIM and CPI collapsed abruptly in the wake of lack of consensus between the parties on the seat allotment, with both sides sticking to their guns.
Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalithaa, it is believed, was firm in not accepting the demand for three seats each by CPI and CPM, and offerred only one seat each.
Left parties which were peeved by the AIADMK’s obdurate stance called off the the alliance forged about a month ago.
“There was no agreement on seat-sharing despite many rounds of talks beacuse of AIADMK’s approach. Further, with the party announcing candidates for all the 40 seats and launching election campaign alone, CPI and CPM have decided to unitedly face the Lok Sabha polls,” the Left parties said in a joint statement here.
Jayalalithaa began her month-long first phase campaign on March 3 from the temple town of Kancheepuram, where none of the leaders from Left parties were present.
While announcing candidates for 40 seats, including the lone seat in Puducherry, on Februray 24, the AIADMK chief had said she would withdraw candidates from seats to be allotted to Left parties.
Left Parties were part of the AIADMK-led front during the 2009 general elections and 2011 Assembly polls in the state, which saw Jayalalithaa-led party returning to power with a thumping majority.
DMDK’s official announcement puts an end to the hide-and-seek being played by Vijayakant, who was being wooed by all parties barring erstwhile partner AIADMK.
While BJP leaders had earlier insisted that their party was in parleys with DMDK, the latter’s leaders were at pains to explain that they were not.
The actor’s seemingly undecided stance fuelled speculations of his party aligning with DMK, Congress and BJP at particular times before his party’s announcement today.
In fact, DMK, whose chief M Karunanidhi had favoured an alliance with DMDK, had deputed ally MMK as its emissary to convince the actor-politician in Malaysia, during his stay there, to come under its fold, while the actor’s sudden departure to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led to buzz that it was a prelude to a Congress-DMDK alliance.
Left parties, used to ride piggyback on one of the Dravidian parties in the state for an electoral survival, find themselves in a spot with the DMK also having virtually shut the doors on any more allies.
DMK-led DPA comprises IUML, MMK and Puthiya Tamizhagam while talks were on with Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.
As allies of AIADMK, CPI-M and CPI had won 10 and nine seats respectively in the 2011 Assembly polls.
Meanwhile, backward Vanniyar community based PMK, announced a panel under its President G K Mani to hold seat sharing talks with BJP. The two sides will meet soon, a PMK release said.
Earlier, speaking after the Administrative Committee meeting, the top decision making body of the party, in Tindivanam, Mani said the party had authorised its founder leader S Ramadoss to take decisions on alliance.
Amid the political churning in the state capital, Jayalalithaa launched the third of her election rallies in Nagapattinam, slamming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his hand shake with President Mahinda Rajapakse in Myanmar instead of a ‘stern’ message to stop the continuing arrests of Indian fishermen from the state.