Chennai: The DMK late on Saturday night clinched a poll pact with the Congress. The deal will be signed formally at 10 am on Sunday, AICC leader Dinesh Gundu Rao told journalists around 11.35 pm. He refused to share details, though.
Rao and senior Congress leaders K S Alagiri and K R Ramsamy rushed to DMK president M K Stalin's house late at night to finalise the deal. The development came just ahead of the DMK's mega conference in Tiruchi district scheduled for Sunday where Stalin is slated to release a 10-year vision statement for Tamil Nadu.
Sources indicated the DMK would allot 25 Assembly seats in addition to the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency (bypoll) to the national party. Earlier in the day, the DMK convinced MDMK’s Vaiko to not only agree for allocation of six seats but also to field the candidates on the ‘Rising Sun’ symbol.
It will be the first time Vaiko, who broke ranks with the DMK in the early 1994, will face an Assembly election in the company of his parent party (though he has faced three Parliamentary elections as part of DMK front). It already has UML (3), MMK (2), VCK (6) and the CPI (6) in its kitty. Now the CPM is the only ally that needs to be convinced. The CPM has been offered six seats, sources said.
However, it wants to be placed slightly ahead of the CPI in numbers.
Sources said given CPM leader Sitaram Yechury’s comments that a third front idea will not work now, the party is likely to stick with the DMK.
AIADMK finalises deal with PMK, BJP
The ruling AIADMK has so far finalised deals with the PMK (23 seats) and just before Friday midnight, got the BJP to agree to a 20-seat deal. It now has to get actor Vijayakant’s DMDK and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) on board.
The DMDK on Saturday scaled down its demand from 25 to 23 seats, but AIADMK is unlikely to oblige citing its poor performances in recent elections.
The party, which had made a spectacular electoral debut in 2006 polling over 8 per cent votes and improvised it to over 10 per cent in 2009 Parliamentary constituency, is now a pale shadow of itself. Due to a series of wrong political decisions, the party which in 2011, in the company of the AIADMK alliance, managed to dislodge the DMK as primary opposition party, now has a vote share of just above two per cent.
The TMC, a splinter group of the Congress, headed by former Union minister GK Vasan, is haggling for more than the three seats, which the ruling party is believed to be dangling before it.
BJP fields ex-union minister in Kanyakumari Lok Sabha bypoll
The BJP announced the name of former union minister Pon Radhakrishnan as its candidate to contest the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha by-election on April 6. Radhakrishnan was a minister of state in the first Modi government and also in the Vajpayee government. He, however, lost to the Congress in the 2019 general election. His name was selected by the central election committee (CEC) on Thursday but announced only on Saturday.
The party wanted to declare his name along with the candidates for the Tamil Nadu Assembly election, but chose to delay the names of the Assembly poll candidates due to unknown reasons.
The Assembly candidates may be announced on Sunday during Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to TN to launch the door-to-door campaign. In the evening, he would lead a "Vijay Yatra" (victory march) in Kerala’s state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of Congress MP H Vasantha Kumar in August last year due to COVID-19.