February 19, 2019
Chennai : The ruling BJP at centre has managed to get the Dravidian major AIADMK to join in a rainbow coalition it has fashioned for the general elections.
As a pre-poll alliance, the BJP has given the status of a senior partner to AIADMK and itself is content with contesting just five seats, leaving a major chunk of 25 to AIADMK. While the PMK will be fighting in 7 seats, the DMDK of Captain Vijayakanth and will also be on board with two or three seats.
Announcing the alliance, union railways minister Piyush Goyal said as a mark of respect to Jayalalithaa, “we will aim to win all the 40 seats (including the one in Puducherry).” To a question the union minister replied in the affirmative that he would be meeting Captain Vijaykanth. Incidentally, both DMDK and PMK were once alliance partners of the BJP few years ago. In 1998, the BJP was a pre-poll alliance partner and she was the one who pulled down the Vajpayee government also during that phase of turbulent politics at the centre.
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK signed an electoral pact with regional grouping, Pattali Makkal Katchi here on Tuesday. According to the formula worked out, the PMK will be fighting on seven Lok Sabha seats and will also get the lone Rajya Sabha seat, up for contention.
This was announced by TN deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam.
"Under the AIADMK-led alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, PMK gets seven Lok Sabha seats. It will also get one Rajya Sabha seat,” Panneerselvam (OPS) said.
The PMK will also support the AIADMK in the bye-elections to 21 assembly constituencies in the state.
PMK founder S Ramadoss said that the alliance was strong and will win Lok Sabha polls with ease. It was not an easy alliance to work out as the PMK did hard bargaining and put in several conditions. Among the demands of the PMK are to declare Cauvery delta region as protected agriculture zone, carrying lout caste-wise census; release of the seven convicts guilty of assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, implementation of old pension scheme for government employees of state government, phased closure of liquor shops and sand quarries in the state.
The more contentious of the demand is the one aimed at preventing Karnataka from building a dam across Cauvery at Mekadatu, waiver of farm loans and exemption to state students from NEET exam.
Analysts are viewing these conditions as possible escape routes in case the PMK wants to exit the alliance in a hurry at any given point of time.
In a statement, Ramadoss said the two parties have agreed to fight and secure schemes for the welfare of the state from the central government formed after the general elections.
Ramadoss said the AIADMK has agreed to almost every demand of the PM.
Although PMK did not win a single seat in the last assembly polls, it secured 5.6 per cent vote in the state. This makes PMK an attractive alliance partner, especially when the there is very narrow difference between the vote percentage of the two Dravidian majors.
The DMK was convinced that the PMK would not go with AIADMK and hence were quite aggressive against this party. DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi would have not burnt his bridges with PMK, now the party is headed by his son Stalin.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister and AIADMK joint coordinator Edapaddi Palaniswami welcomed Ramadoss and ushered him into the hotel where the alliance was formed.
Even BJP leaders confirmed the deal between AIADMK and PMK. In fact, the BJP will be a part of the AIADMK led coalition in Tamil Nadu for the general elections.