DMDK – the main opposition in TN – had managed 10% votes in 2009 LS polls and 9% in 2006 assembly polls

Chennai : On a day of swift political developments in Tamil Nadu, the main opposition in the assembly, the DMDK on Thursday opened parleys for a poll pact with the BJP and the much-talked about AIADMK-Left parties’ alliance collapse over seat-sharing.

Ending days of speculation and backroom negotiations, the party of the actor-turned politician, Vijaykanth, formally announced that it had 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 it did not elaborate on the number of seats, among the other electoral issues it would bargain for with the BJP, the state’s BJP unit president Pon Radhakrishnan said, “We are happy DMDK had come out in the open about the talks it is holding with BJP.”

The party had  managed to grab 10% vote share in its first parliamentary election in 2009, up from 8% in the 2006 assembly election, few months after Vijayakanth launched hispolitical party.

 In the other major development, the alliance between the ruling AIADMK and CPM and CPI collapsed abruptly, in the wake of lack of consensus between the parties on seat allotment, with both sides sticking to their guns.

Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa, it is believed, was firm in not accepting the demand for three seats each by the CPI and CPM, and had offered them only one seat each. The Left parties, which were peeved by the AIADMK’s obdurate stance, called off 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.

The Left parties were part of the AIADMK-led front during the 2009 general elections and 2011 assembly polls in the state, which saw the Jayalalithaa-led party returning to power with a thumping majority.

The DMDK’s official announcement puts an end to the hide-and-seek being played by Vijayakant, who is being wooed by all parties, barring erstwhile partner AIADMK.    While BJP leaders had earlier insisted that their party was in parleys with the 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 the DMK, the Congress and the BJP at various times before his party’s announcement on Thursday.                               –PTI

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