March 1, 2021 10:55:03 pm
Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), once a sought-after party in Tamil Nadu, now seems to be trying all tricks in the book to get a decent deal for itself ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
According to sources, the DMDK high command is refusing to settle for less than 20 seats, but the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is ready to offer them a maximum of 11 in the upcoming elections.
On Saturday, the ruling party began its seat-sharing deals, and allocated the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) 23 seats. The pact was signed between AIADMK leaders Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Pannerselvam and PMK leaders Anbumani Ramadoss and GK Mani.
Within a few hours, representatives of the AIADMK, comprising state ministers P Thangamani, SP Velumani and AIADMK deputy coordinator KP Munusamy, called on DMDK chief Captain Vijayakanth at his residence in Chennai. The second leg of the talks was held on Sunday. On the same day, Home Minister Amit Shah held talks with CM Edappadi and O Pannerselvam for over two hours.
Sources said during the meetings with AIADMK, DMDK representatives expressed displeasure at “not being treating on par with other alliance partners”. This issue had reached a flashpoint recently, when the AIADMK, accepting the PMK’s demand, introduced a special 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community within the Most Backward Classes (MBCs) quota.
DMDK treasurer Premalatha Vijayakanth has in the past criticised PMK’s quota demand, and even said that DMDK cadre feel their party shouldn’t be part of an alliance that has PMK in it.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, a senior political analyst said Premalatha and her brother LK Sudhish, who are handling the seat-sharing talks for their party, want seats on par with the PMK.
“DMDK hopes that AIADMK will not give up on them. Though the former doesn’t have as big a vote share as in previous elections, they still can polarise votes against the ruling party along caste lines. By accepting PMK’s reservation demand, AIADMK is caught in a web, where it may have to accommodate other allies as well to win this election. DMDK will probably settle for 15-16 seats,” the analyst said.
Earlier in February, Premalatha said she expects the AIADMK to allocate them 41 seats, similar to the deal her party had sealed in the 2011 election. Urging AIADMK to initiate seat-sharing talks, she said they were waiting patiently “respecting alliance dharma”, but “even that has a limit”. She added her party could secure 10-15 per cent of votes even if they contest alone.
Meanwhile, DMDK’s deputy general secretary LK Sudhish posted a cryptic post on Facebook, indicating all is not well within the AIADMK camp. Sudhish posted an image in which Vijayakanth was projected as their CM candidate. Political observers believe this is a message to threaten their partner that they are ready to contest alone.