BJP announces alliance with AIADMK, PMK in Tamil Nadu; saffron party set to contest for five LS seats

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday formally announced a pre-poll alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu. Union Minister Piyush Goyal, while addressing the media along with Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, said that the NDA will fight and "win" in all 40 seats in the state in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The two parties subsequently also brought the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) into the fold.

Calling it the 'maha-alliance' the AIADMK leaders announced that their party and BJP will together contest in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and that the BJP will get five Lok Sabha seats in the state. Meanwhile, Goyal hailed former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and said that together, the BJP and AIADMK will ensure her vision is taken forward to serve the people of Tamil Nadu. He said that BJP will also support the  AIADMK in the by-elections on 21 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) also announced on Tuesday that will support the AIADMK- BJP alliance in Tamil Nadu in the forthcoming general elections. PMK, which has a support base in northern Tamil Nadu, especially among the OBC Vanniyar community, will contest on six Lok Sabha seats and will be given one Rajya Sabha seat.

BJP announces alliance with AIADMK, PMK in Tamil Nadu; saffron party set to contest for five LS seats

Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam and Union Minister Piyush Goyal in Chennai after having talks on BJP-AIADMK alliance. ANI

"Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) joined our alliance today. Seven seats have been allotted to PMK for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019," Panneerselvam said while addressing the media. The AIADMK had kept its talks with the PMK under wraps as the latter was believed to have been holding talks with the DMK as well. While elaborating on by-elections Panneerselvam said, "We will fight on 21 seats in by-elections and PMK will support us."

In the 235-member Assembly, the AIADMK has 115 members followed by the DMK with 88, Congress eight, one of the IUML, one independent, the speaker and 20 vacant seats (18 disqualified and two dead). Besides, there is a nominated member.

Meanwhile, the BJP has been holding intense parlays with the ruling party in Tamil Nadu. On 15 February, Union minister and BJP's Tamil Nadu in-charge Piyush Goyal had no qualms about revealing the agenda of his visit to Chennai. Goyal had said he was in Chennai to hold talks on an electoral alliance, and that in politics, all possibilities are open.

"I have come here to discuss how we will proceed in the elections and discuss with party leaders and other friends to chart out a path for the future," he had said. He later held meetings with AIADMK leader and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, The News Minute reported.

AIADMK is believed to have had left the task of convincing PMK to BJP leaders, but the talks were facing hiccups because of differences between Anbumani Ramadoss and his father and PMK founder S Ramadoss on whether to ally with the saffron party. Senior Ramadoss favoured the BJP, while Anbumani wanted to support the DMK-Congress alliance, The Times of India reported, citing sources. However, it looks like the will of the senior Ramadoss prevailed as the AIADMK has officially revealed the seat-sharing formula with the PMK.

Negotiations with DMDK are in the final stages, according to The Times of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to be in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. He is scheduled to address public rallies in Tirupur and Kanyakumari.

Moreover, The Indian Express noted that the BJP — now desperate for allies — is willing to settle for less than its weight. The report claimed that the party was pushing for a 20-20 formula in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, but it is expected to settle for even six or seven seats, leaving the remaining for other NDA allies, DMDK and Tamil Maanila Congress.

The party has already finalised its seat-sharing formula with the JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party in Bihar, and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2019 18:01:43 IST

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