The regional majors are gearing up to face the general elections in Tamil Nadu,an electoral ground that sends 39 members to the Lok Sabha,which is a crucial number in the era of alliance politics.
For the ruling DMK,it is the prince-in-waiting and Local Administration Minister MK Stalin who heads the committee that would discuss seat sharing with its partners. The committee will include Electricity Minister and party principal secretary Arcot N Veerasamy,PWD Minister and deputy general secretary Durai Murugan,Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam and Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy.
Chief Minister and party president M Karunanidhi,who led the alliance to a spectacular victory in 2004,had returned home hospital only on Sunday after a stay of over a month following a surgery.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and AICC in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad who arrived in Chennai on Sunday met state Congress leaders at the TNCC headquarters on Monday morning to elicit their views on partys strategy to face the elections. He will call on Karunanidhi later on Monday,and topics other than latters health condition will be under discussion.
The major Opposition AIADMK,who was blanked by DPA leaving it unrepresented in the LS during last term,also announced a similar committee to undertake seat sharing talks with its partners. Presidium chairman E Madhusoodhanan,treasurer and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam,former minister D Jayakumar and propaganda secretary M Thambidurai will hold discussions with its allies,for now the Left parties,who quit the DMK-led alliance over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Opposition ally MDMK has also set up a committee that includes political advisory committee secretary Tiurpur S Duraisamy,administrative council members Tiruchi Malarmannan,Sivanthiappan,Palavakkam K Somu,election committee secretary TK Subramanian and legal wing secretary G Devadoss.
BJP,the national party that only has notional presence in Tamil Nadu politics,will finalise its candidates for the coming election at its election committee meeting on March 5,said M Venkaiah Naidu,party senior leader in charge of the southern states. NDAs Prime Ministerial candidate LK Advani will visit Nagercoil this Saturday,Naidu added. The party had tasted success in Nagercoil when Pon Radhakrishnan won the election in 1999,but the same candidate was defeated five years on by CMs AV Bellarmin.