Multi-cornered contest in Tamil Nadu

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finalising seat sharing with its allies, the stage is all set for a multi-cornered contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu.

A clear picture of electoral alliances will emerge on Friday and going by the current scenario, Tamil Nadu will see a fierce fight between five sides, a first of its kind in the state.

This is also the first time that the BJP, which was able to emerge from its decade-long electoral isolation in the state, will lead a front with key parties, including actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and Vaiko-led Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK).

The BJP, expected to announce its final stand on Friday, is currently in the final process of solving the issues between the DMDK and the PMK, whose choice of constituencies is clashing with each other.

After snapping ties with the two communist parties over seat-sharing disputes, the Jayalalitha-led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) will contest the election on its own, while its arch-rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) tied-up with Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, Indian Union Muslim League, Puthiya Tamizhagam and Viduthalai Chiruthaikal

Katchi. Meanwhile, both the Left parties – the CPI and the CPM – have announced their decision to contest together, putting an end to the speculation that they could tie-up with the DMK.

Seemingly friendless in Tamil Nadu to fight the general election and with a vote share of just 9 per cent, the Congress, which fought the previous general elections with the DMK, did not have the option to contest alone.

Even small political outfits in the state feel that the Congress has gained a negative image, particularly due to its stand on Sri Lankan Tamils issue and the release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Further, the sudden and unexpected support from the West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee to Jayalalitha’s prime ministerial ambitions has bolstered the ruling party.

Interestingly, both the AIADMK and the DMK, which started their poll campaign, focused only on attacking the Congress government and kept silent on the BJP.  Political analysts said this has created an impression that both Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi are keeping their options open to become an ally of the BJP after the polls.

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