BJP-AIADMK tie-up talks hit a roadblock over sharing of seats
National party wants 10 seats, most of them AIADMK bastions
Our leadership is willing to allot six seats to the BJP, including to the smaller parties
Back-room talks between the AIADMK and the BJP to explore the possibility of an electoral tie-up ahead of the Lok Sabha election have begun. Sources said that negotiations have started on the number of seats and constituencies to be allotted to the national party in an alliance that will be led by the AIADMK.
The AIADMK, which is facing resistance within the organisation to any pre-poll deal with the BJP, is playing hardball, unwilling to give up its status as a dominant regional force.
The talks are being held between Union Minister Piyush Goyal, the BJP’s election in-charge for Tamil Nadu, and State Electricity Minister P. Thangamani and Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani, both hailing from the western region. The two Ministers are considered to be close confidants of AIADMK co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.
A source privy to the developments said the BJP was pitching for 10 out of the 39 Parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu. The national party hopes to apportion some seats to its minor allies such as the Indiya Jananayaga Katchi, the New Justice Party, a Kongu outfit, and a Yadava-dominated party, on the condition that they contest on its ‘Lotus’ symbol. However, the AIADMK wants to restrict the apportionment of seats to single digits, considering that the BJP does not have a vast organisational structure in T.N. It also wants to limit the dissent within its ranks, as many of the sitting MPs would be disappointed if their constituencies are allotted to potential allies. “Our leadership is willing to allot six seats to the BJP, including to the smaller parties,” a source said.
Besides, it is learnt that the BJP is seeking constituencies where it believes it would have better electoral prospects. “Many of these seats are also the AIADMK’s traditional strongholds,” a ruling party leader said.
Jayavardhan in fray
On Sunday, South Chennai MP Jayavardhan, son of Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, submitted his application seeking an AIADMK ticket from the same constituency. It is learnt that the BJP, which has in the past been allotted the constituency in an AIADMK alliance, is eager to field its candidate this time as well.
“There is resistance to the BJP alliance. But we get a feeling that Mr. Palaniswami has given a commitment to the BJP leadership on a prepoll tie-up. We get a feeling from our leaders that the talks with the BJP could be nearing closure once the differences on number of seats and constituencies are ironed out,” said a secondline leader.
“The indications we have been getting from the PMK have been positive so far,” said a Minister, when asked about the prospect of including it in the alliance.