The AIADMK and BJP on Tuesday stitched a pre-poll alliance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Addressing reporters after the second and final round of discussions by the two parties, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said the BJP will contest in five Lok Sabha seats as part of the “mega alliance” in Tamil Nadu, which has 39 Lok Sabha seats. Puducherry, on the other hand, has one parliamentary seat.
He also said that the saffron party will back the AIADMK in the bye-elections on 21 assembly seats in the state. “We will support AIADMK in the bye-elections on 21 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu. We have agreed to contest elections in the leadership of OPS and EPS in the state and under the leadership of Modi Ji in Centre,” said Goyal, the BJP’s election-in-charge for Tamil Nadu.
The announcement came hours after the ruling AIADMK announced a poll alliance with the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) as part of putting up a broad-based front to face the coming elections. Announcing the tie-up in the presence of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said PMK would contest in seven Lok Sabha seats. It was also decided that the PMK would be allocated a Rajya Sabha seat.
Having failed to make significant electoral gains in the southern states barring Karnataka, the BJP needs alliances to pull votes in the region in an effort to return to power at the Centre.
The upcoming Lok Sabha polls is the first major electoral battle for the AIADMK after the demise of its charismatic leader Jayalalithaa in December 2016.