'Gold rush' for seats ends in DMK camp

The herculean process of identifying constituencies for the DMK’s key allies, including the Congress, the PMK and the Dalit outfit Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK)was rounded off late on Tuesday night.

While the pact with the VCK was the one signed last, it has been given 10 seats in the DMK-led front, mostly taking the reserved seats for Dalits in north Tamil Nadu. Prior to that, to sign on the dotted line after one of the toughest negotiations was the PMK chief S Ramadoss, whose party has been allotted 30 seats by the DMK.

Barring three seats in south Tamil Nadu where the OBC-vanniyars based party has hardly any presence, the remaining constituencies earmarked for the PMK are from the state’s Vanniyar heartland, comprising many parts of north and north-west Tamil Nadu. But sources said, only six of the 17 sitting PMK MLAs’ have got back their seats.

For the Congress which bargained very hard to get 63 seats, the constituency-sharing agreement was perhaps the most satisfactory. The ruling DMK has even conceded a few seats which was represented by ministers in the outgoing ministry to the national party.
As the Congress has got a bulk of 38 of the 63 seats in the southern and western belts of the state, it might be locking horns with the AIADMK whose traditional strongholds could be overlapping with the former’s constituencies, sources pointed out. At least nine seats have gone to Youth Congress representatives, a victory of sorts for Rahul Gandhi’s efforts.

The MDMK led by Vaiko continues to be in a limbo with AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa yet to finalise the number of seats for his party. The MDMK was last offered a mere eight seats in the 234-member House, well below than even the Left parties’ allocation. An upset Vaiko is mulling various options and has convened a meeting of the MDMK’s high power committee and district secretaries on March 19 to discuss the future course.

A smaller OBC-Thevars outfit, Akila Indiya Naadalum Makkal Katchi led by film actor Karthik, son of the late veteran actor Muthuraman, on Tuesday decided to break ties with AIADMK, saying the latter had “ignored”the claims of his party in seat-sharing.

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