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AIADMK, DMK Yet to Close Deal with Key Allies for Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections

The DMK on Saturday moved forward in its ongoing seat-sharing exercise with allies by giving six seats to MDMK though a deal with the Congress and CPI(M) was elusive, while the ruling AIADMK’s negotiations with DMDK remained inconclusive. The MDMK would, however, contest on the rising sun symbol of its partner DMK according to the pact inked today by the leadership of both parties.

This is the first time the MDMK would face the Tamil Nadu Assembly election together with the DMK since it was founded in 1994 after Vaiko was ousted from the then M Karunanidhi-led DMK. Vaiko, when asked if his party has given a list of preferred constituencies to DMK, said ‘no.’ On agreeing to contest on the ‘rising sun’ symbol, which is a ‘change of heart,’ he said it was due to practical reasons.

The MDMK chief had previously said his party would contest on a separate symbol. A party would be allotted a single, common symbol by the Election Commission only if it contested from at least 12 constituencies and if not, there was a possibility of separate symbol in each of the six segments, he said.

To avert such a scenario and considering practical aspects like less number of days to campaign, the party decided to contest on the rising sun symbol, he said. He hit out at the ‘Sanathana forces,’ a reference to the BJP, and praised Stalin as a very capable leader for the post of Chief Minister.

The DMK has allotted 23 seats to allies. MDMK, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and CPI have got six each, the IUML three and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi two. After the second round of talks, CPI(M) state secretary K Balakrishnan said the number of seats indicated by the DMK for allocation to his party was not agreeable and hence they have conveyed their preference. He hoped for a resolution soon on seat sharing with DMK.

Asked if his party could get more than the six seats earmarked by the Dravidian party for its ideological sibling CPI, he said there was no question of comparison with any other party. The Marxist party leader said negotiations with the DMK centred around the allocation for his party and not a word had been spoken by them on what was set part for others.

The AIADMK allocated 20 seats to BJP succumbing to pressure from it, he alleged and compared the ruling party-led combine to a ‘scrap’ shop. While the Congress party held interviews for ticket aspirants here, there was no progress on finalising seat sharing with the DMK.

Similarly, the AIADMK’s negotiations with allies the DMDK and former Union Minister G K Vaasan led Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) were yet to reach the finalisation stage. An ally of the AIADMK, MLA Karunas-led Mukkulathor Pulippadai walked out of the alliance and vowed to work against the ruling combine in 84 constituencies where the Mukkalathor community held a sway.

Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam too held interviews for aspirants and indicated backchannel talks with the Congress party which appeared miffed with the offer of less number of seats (22) by the DMK. MNM’s general secretary Kumaravel hinted at talks “at different levels,” with the Congress and declined to elaborate.

Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi is going solo for the election. While the AIADMK concluded interviews for party ticket aspirants in a single day on Thursday, the DMK completed the exercise, which commenced on March 2, today.

The ruling party late Friday night signed a pact with the BJP allotting it 20 Assembly seats and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat. The saffron party has named its senior leader, Pon Radhakrishnan, also a former Union Minister as the candidate for the Kanyakumari bypoll, ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s campaign there on Sunday.

Stalin, after addressing a mega public meeting tomorrow at Tiruchirappalli, would resume campaign on March 12 from Salem, home to Chief Minister K Palaniswami and cover Dindigul and Madurai the next day. It is part of his sixth phase of ‘Stalin in your constituency’ campaign.

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