Trouble for DMK and tensions for ADMK: What's going on behind the talks?

The clock is ticking towards the crucial assembly polls in Tamil Nadu and when the state is going through the election fervor, the political parties are engaging in a tug-of-war over seat-sharing and constituencies, and as the parties are ten days ahead of filing the nomination papers for contesting in the polls, the political leaders are unfolding the episodes of hectic parleys to finalize the seat-sharing and the parties are carrying out aggressive talks but the current events display that the amicable output of seat-sharing is not in sight yet. 

As the election date gets closer, the alliance talks are getting tough for both the state ruling ADMK and opposition DMK parties. While it was speculated that DMK won't find any troubles in seat-sharing amid the need for accommodating multiple allied parties, the party has now been facing more troubles from the allied factions as they have been demanding more seats than what DMK had prescribed them. With the incessant trouble, DMK is finding it difficult to strike a deal at least with one major party.

The Tamil Nadu Opposition party has Congress, MDMK, VCK, Leftist parties both CPI and CPI(M), Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and Manidhaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK). According to our sources, DMK is planning to contest in 180 to 190 seats of a total of 234 seats, the Dravidian party is hoping to accommodate the allies in the remaining 44 seats. With the Congress party being a major alliance, the DMK has made up its mind of not allot more than 22 seats to the grand old party. 

While the Congress party has begun the negotiations with the DMK to make a deal of seat-sharing, the Congress party had demanded 30 seats from DMK but the state opposition party will be restricting the Congress party with 18-22 seats. Though there were speculations that Congress will quit the DMK alliance, the reports say that Congress would less likely be braved to take the decision of demitting the DMK alliance and it has been expected that Congress would eventually settle up for the offer from the DMK. 

Vaiko's MDMK has been demanding 15 seats from DMK. Vaiko had discussed with the senior leaders of his party and sent the party's representation for the DMK headquarters with the demand for 15 seats. However, DMK will likely allot the single-digit seat between 5-6 constituencies. Similarly, Thirumavalavan's VCK had also demanded DMK to provide 12 seats and the party's supporters had protested against DMK for trying to limit the party to the single-digit seat. However, our sources say that VCK will be given six seats. 

The leftist parties will have a similar scale of seat-sharing and it has been expected that DMK will complete the talks with the allied parties over seat-sharing within this week following which it will begin the drive of allotting the constituencies. Earlier, DMK had made a deal with IUML and MMK parties by providing three and two seats respectively. Regional parties like Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi and Kongunadu Makkal Desia Katchi had also demanded seats from DMK. At the current state, DMK has allotted seats for IUML and MMK. 

On the other hand, while the DMK is troubled by its allied parties, the Tamil Nadu ruling ADMK has been surfaced with fresh tensions from its allied parties. ADMK has BJP, PMK, DMDK, and TMC as its major allied parties and while the ruling parties had allotted 23 seats for PMK recently, ADMK has been witnessing challenges from the other parties over seat-sharing. The recent statements from DMDK had given tensions to the ADMK and with the emergence of a soaring relationship, ADMK is trying to fix the alliance with DMDK and to convince Vijayakanth's party to settle up for the seats offered than it had demanded. 

ADMK has also been planning to contest in 170-180 constituencies and mulling to field the candidates at least in 150 constituencies to clash with DMK directly. Recently, ADMK had awarded 23 seats to PMK after passing a reservation bill for the Vanniyar Community that was demanded by PMK. ADMK had also made a deal with Puthiya Tamilagam and Puthiya Needhi Katchi by offering one seat each. The state ruling party has been finding it difficult to attain a deal with Vijayakanth's DMDK. According to reports, DMDK has been demanding seats more than PMK and a Parliamentary ticket. 

On Wednesday, DMDK leader LK Sudheesh had fueled the tussle by claiming that ADMK would have become non-existent if DMDK hadn't aligned with them in 2011. He went on to say that DMDK has been receiving calls from all parties to float an alliance under its leadership. The political observers say that Sudheesh's statement has come in his bid to press the ADMK to offer what it demands. However, ADMK is not ready to allot what DMDK demands given the party's defeat in the 2016 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha polls. 

At the current state, ADMK will be offering 15 seats to DMDK and for BJP, it will be offering 22 seats to make sure that PMK is the major stakeholder in the alliance. GK Vasan's TMC has been demanding ADMK to provide 12 seats. However, the ruling party is yet to decide and it has been expected that ADMK will complete the talks and reach the deal with the allied parties within this week. Let's take a look at the election schedule in Tamil Nadu. 

  • Single-phase election for all the 234 constituencies
  • Issue of Notification - March 12th, 2021.
  • Last date of nomination - March 19th, 2021.
  • Last date of scrutiny - March 20th, 2021.
  • Last date for withdrawing nomination - March 22nd, 2021
  • Date of Election - April 6th, 2021. 
  • Date of counting - May 2nd, 2021, during which the winner will be declared.