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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Jaya stays away from alliance talk, eyes all Tamil Nadu seats

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 14, 2013
First Published: 00:25 IST(14/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:07 IST(14/6/2013)

Amid the talks of a new third or federal front of non-Congress parties by Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar, Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalithaa is keeping her cards close to chest. She won’t talk of any alliance or Front till the Lok Sabha polls are over but is confident of a non-Congress formation coming to power.

Jayalalithaa has told her partymen that her target is  40 seats —  all 39 in Tamil Nadu and 1 in Pondicherry — in the general polls. Though it seems a tall order, her aides say what she has in mind is at least 30 seats for her to bargain with whichever political formation is within the range to stake claim to form the next government.

Therefore, for a better strike rate,  Jayalalithaa has taken the position that the AIADMK will not align with any other party in the state to fight the elections. She may, however, concede a few seats to local parties like the MDMK or the PMK depending on the situation prevalent three months ahead of the polls.

In an interesting move, she has re-nominated Dr V Maitreyan, AIADMK’s familiar face in  Delhi, to the Rajya Sabha for a third time to play her Man Friday role in the post-poll scenario, party officials say.

No AIADMK MP has been re-nominated three times by her. A former BJP leader from Tamil Nadu, Maitreyan joined the AIADMK long ago and retains good political contacts.

A day ago, Jayalalithaa indicated that she expected a “friendly government” at the Centre, considering that the UPA rule has not been friendly towards her.

She said while referring to one of her recommendations to the central government among many that the Adayar Cancer Institute be upgraded as a centre for excellence. “If the approval fails to materialise... Next year there will be a friendly government at the Centre that will immediately approve the Cancer Institute as a centre of excellence,” she said.

Jayalalithaa’s ties with the Congress have remained frosty after a botched up attempt to topple the Vajpayee government in 1999.  After the rout of the DMK in 2011, some Tamil Nadu Congress leaders had sounded their party leadership for reworking ties with the AIADMK.

So far,  the AICC leadership has kept options open for a fresh pact with the DMK though the latter withdrew support to the UPA over the Lankan Tamil issue.


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