The BJP is in favour of including Vijayakant’s DMDK in the AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu for the Lok Sabha elections. “We want the DMDK with us and we believe that we are close to a just settlement on seats with him (Vijayakant), the AIADMK is negotiating,” said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
Talks on distribution of specific constituencies between the BJP and AIADMK will take place only after the poll pact with the DMDK is signed. A final agreement with the DMDK is likely in the next couple of days, according to BJP sources in New Delhi, who are in the know of negotiations. The BJP has been allotted five seats in the alliance.
“We will like to retain Kanniyakumari, its only sitting seat, besides which we want at least one seat from Chennai, Tiruppur, Coimbatore (Coimbatore / Pollachi) and possibly Madurai or Nilgiris. It is a list of at least seven seats which will be picked over and five decided on,” said the source.
The local unit of the BJP, which was counting on the party getting at least eight seats in the alliance, came up short against an adamant AIADMK and the party’s own very pragmatic national leadership, which wished to sew up the alliance in Tamil Nadu with minimum fuss and a positive attitude. “We don’t think we have given up a lot; we have to accommodate the aspirations of other parties, the DMDK got 14 seats the last time it contested with us (2014), now they are also down to single digits, which is also why it is taking so long to negotiate,” said the source.
In what may come as a further dampener to the local unit of the BJP, the party is also not averse to “impactful” candidates who may want to defect from other parties. The alliance’s slogan for the Tamil Nadu polls will be an assertive assertion of “Naarpadum Nammade” [All 40 seats in TN and Puducherry are ours].