BJP-AIADMK tie-up talks hit a road­block over shar­ing of seats

Na­tional party wants 10 seats, most of them AIADMK bas­tions

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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