DMK says poll deal with DMDK almost sealed, BJP puts off talks

Even after the BJP tried its best to woo him, sources in the DMK confirmed Wednesday that a deal was almost sealed, with an announcement of seat-sharing formula being the next step.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: March 18, 2016 11:05 am

DMDK leader Captain Vijayakanth continued to remain at the centre of all alliance negotiations in the run-up to the forthcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. Even after the BJP tried its best to woo him, sources in the DMK confirmed Wednesday that a deal was almost sealed, with an announcement of seat-sharing formula being the next step.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar seemed to have postponed his trip to the state. BJP’s state spokesperson said Javadekar may visit only on Saturday, confirming that the proposed Wednesday visit was off. After his meeting with Vijayakanth last week, Javadekar said he would come back with positive news after the Union Budget and discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

While sources close to Dayanidhi Maran confirmed that he was actively taking part in the negotiations with Vijayakanth for DMK, another leading industrialist from Chennai had represented BJP during a reported meeting with the actor-turned-politician a few weeks ago.

Apart from being the most significant party in the state after DMK and AIADMK, what makes Vijayakanth’s DMDK critical is the vote share of up to 9 per cent it has commanded in the past. With parties in hot pursuit, Vijayakanth has so far played his cards well to elevate the party’s status while keeping everyone guessing.

While the final announcement is expected next week, sources claimed that a deal with DMK was most likely. They added that while Vijayakanth had asked for 100 seats and DMK had offered 50, the deal was likely to be done at 59 seats for the DMDK. According to DMK insiders, the party also played on Vijayakanth’s lucky number ‘five’ and his weakness for numerology to make him climb down from his demand.

“In the initial talks, he demanded a share in power, including senior ministerial posts. We refused to entertain that demand, and he’s now eyeing the upcoming local body elections to make sure that his party gets mayor posts and other crucial seats in the power sharing in local body elections in alliance with the DMK. More than the number of assembly seats, now it’s about how much they get in local body elections,” said a senior DMK leader.

An attempt to avoid another five years in opposition in the state was also seen as a major reason for DMDK tilting towards the DMK.

“If we go with BJP, we would get a maximum of 15 seats, that too if there is a miracle. We may get some Rajya Sabha seats too. So, DMK is a better option as the survival of the party is more important than anything else. To knowingly pick an alliance partner to sit in the opposition will be suicidal,” said a DMDK leader, who strongly pushed for a tie-up with the DMK.