Tamil Nadu is just thirty-three days away from the crucial assembly polls as of Wednesday - March 3 and the political parties in the state are on the marathon race to finalize the talks over seat-sharing and split of constituencies towards forming a potent coalition on both sides of the aisle. As it is no wonder that the direct fight would be between state ruling ADMK and opposition DMK, Tamil Nadu is most likely to witness four to five tracks to win the race for taking over the reign.
On the front of comparison, ADMK has been going through the toughest episodes of talks with the allied parties than DMK, though the latter is pushed to accommodate multiple parties in its coalition. ADMK was the first party in the state to sign a deal as the ruling party had attained a deal with Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) by allocating 23 seats in its alliance. While it had made the deal with PMK with the help of a reservation bill that was passed to support the Vanniyar community, ADMK has been finding difficulties to strike a deal with the other allied parties like BJP and DMDK.
Attaining a deal with BJP by convincing the Central ruling party has become a Himalayan task for ADMK as the parties are still displaying a political drama amid hectic parleys and incessant speculations. According to reports, ADMK had reached the deal with PMK on February 27 and it had begun talks with BJP on Sunday. Knowing that the talks would no way be lenient, the ADMK has been hoping to restrict BJP from not getting more numbers than PMK. However, BJP has come up with a pack of demands to make sure that the party will have representation at the assembly, at least this time.
Displaying the magnitude of the talks, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had directly involved in the talks with ADMK leaders Edappadi Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. The political observers say that unlike the Jayalalithaa-era, the current ADMK leadership has been observing close ties with the BJP and it has been pushed to balance the party's interest and its allegiance to the Central ruling party. The ADMK leaders are determined not to lose their control over the party and at the same time, to build a strong alliance.
On Sunday, the talks between both parties began at a star hotel in Chennai with Amit Shah putting out his demand. The Central ruling party has expected 60 assembly seats from ADMK and the BJP had claimed that it can win the seats and it has demanded the ADMK to allocate at least 33 seats out of 60. However, ADMK, which aims to contest in 170 to 180 seats, was not ready to accept BJP's demand. In its pack, the BJP had also demanded to allocate Kanyakumari parliamentary constituency which will go to the by-election on April 6.
According to our sources, BJP had also said that it will contest in all six assembly seats that fall under Kanyakumari parliamentary constituency. However, ADMK is working out to convince the Central ruling party to settle with 20 seats. The talks have been on the table for the third straight day on Wednesday and it has been expected that ADMK will strike a deal with BJP within Thursday. The state ruling leaders are also planning to be in a commanding position in the allocation of constituencies for the BJP.
According to a news agency, an ADMK leader said that the party is planning to contest in 170 to 180 seats as contesting less than this scale would diminish the possibilities for ADMK to form a government on its own. Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam had made up their minds that PMK, with 23 seats, should enjoy the status of the senior-most partner in the ADMK alliance, which means that the ADMK will less likely nod for the BJP's demand and it will further restrict the Central ruling party with 20 seats.
The ADMK leaders expect that BJP should not roll out its bargain drive as the state ruling party is in process of offering Kanyakumari parliamentary constituency for the Central ruling party. The talks are currently carried out by BJP Tamil Nadu President L Murugan and senior leaders while the other side of the table has been occupied by senior ADMK leaders including ministers Thangamani, SP Velumani, and deputy coordinators of the party KP Munusamy and Vaithlingam.
Along with Kanyakumari, the BJP has been planning to field its candidates in Chennai and Coimbatore. The reports say that though BJP engages in a tug-of-war with the ADMK over seat-sharing, it may finally end up reaching a consensus for a balanced deal. ADMK has to accommodate BJP, PMK (Ramadoss), DMDK (Vijayakanth), and TMC (GK Vasan) in its alliance and while ADMK aims to directly contest in 170 to 180 seats, the rest of the seats would be allocated for the allied parties.
It is going to be the first legislative election for Edappadi Palaniswami as the Chief Minister so is for MK Stalin as DMK President. Both the rivals are preparing for a face-to-face battle by contesting in at least 150 seats directly. The ADMK leaders are planning to complete the talks and finalize the deal with the allied parties within this week to begin another round of campaigns across the state as Tamil Nadu is just one month away from the elections. But for ADMK, it's not over with BJP as the state ruling party has to brace up for fresh tensions during the talks with DMDK. Tamil Nadu will be going to the single-phase polls on April 6 and the votes will be counted on May 2, during which the state will know the next Chief Minister.