AIADMK, PMK sign alliance pact; Shah likely to come

A last-minute hitch owing to the PMK playing the hardball forced BJP President Amit Shah to cancel his visit here to announce the party’s rainbow alliance with ruling AIADMK and others. However, Union Railway Minister and BJP in-charge for alliance talks in the state Piyush Goyal will arrive in the city to hold consultations with AIADMK leaders. PTI file photo

Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Tuesday sealed an alliance with Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party, which has considerable influence in the northern part of the state that constitutes for 17 seats, for the Lok Sabha polls due in May. The alliance will have Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK) and PMK as well as junior partners along with the PMK.

PMK, which was keeping the AIADMK and BJP on tenterhooks till about 10 am this morning forcing BJP President Amit Shah to cancel his visit to Chennai, came around and finally signed the pact. The pact was signed between PMK founder S Ramadoss and AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam at a five-star hotel.

Union Railway Minister and BJP in-charge for alliance talks in the state Piyush Goyal will hold final discussions with AIADMK and DMDK leaders to finalise the numbers. Once the deal is done, Shah is likely to make a visit to Chennai later Tuesday to address a joint press conference and announce the rainbow alliance.

“The AIADMK and PMK have decided to fight the Lok Sabha elections together as part of a mega alliance which will be victorious in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. As part of the pact, the PMK will contest 7 Lok Sabha seats. Also, the PMK will get one Rajya Sabha seat,” AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam told reporters, flanked by PMK leaders.

On his part, PMK founder S Ramadoss said the parties decided to enter into an alliance for the welfare of the people. “We have put forth 10 demands to the Tamil Nadu government for the alliance and we have conveyed them to the Chief Minister,” Ramadoss said.

He also added that release of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, exemption for NEET and staggered prohibition are some of the major demands of the PMK. The AIADMK, which is the leader of the alliance, has been holding talks with PMK and they are still inconclusive with Ramadoss not budging from his stand.

The deal was thrashed out after Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam met Ramadoss and his son Anbumani on Tuesday. PMK has done a volte-face in joining the AIADMK alliance as it had vowed not to have any truck with the Dravidian parties in the state.

The party, which was part of the NDA-1 and UPA-1 governments, has five per cent vote share and wields considerable influence among Vanniyars. 

AIADMK and BJP have been holding informal talks since December for an alliance, but so far only one round of formal discussion has taken place – both EPS and OPS had met Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal at a “common place” on Thursday last.

The alliance will be a formidable one and is expected to give the DMK alliance run for its money. It is also a deviation for the AIADMK from the long-held policy of its late chief J Jayalalithaa who had maintained equidistance from both the national parties – BJP and Congress.

However, the AIADMK, even under Jayalalithaa, had been bailing out the BJP in Parliament. The last time the two parties contested elections together was during 2004 Lok Sabha elections. DH had on February 5 reported that despite stiff opposition from within, AIADMK is firm on an alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP leaders feel an alliance with AIADMK would ensure that it gets the chunk of the regional party’s vote share if not the entire percentage. AIADMK under Jayalalithaa had polled more than 40 per cent of votes in 2016 assembly elections, but it might witness a deep plunge with AIADMK split into two after her passing away.

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AIADMK, PMK sign alliance pact; Shah likely to come

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