The BJP, in its first-ever electoral foray as an alliance leader in Tamil Nadu, on Thursday announced a six-party rainbow coalition for the Lok Sabha elections. The state politics has largely been dominated by Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and M Karunanidhi’s DMK.
BJP president Rajnath Singh detailed the alliance, which has Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial candidature as its main USP. Among others, the coalition has actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK, which was assiduously wooed by the DMK and Congress until a few days ago.
Flanked by his new partners, Singh told newspersons that of the 39 seats in the state, the DMDK will fight 14 seats while the PMK and BJP will contest eight seats each. Vaiko’s MDMK has been given seven constituencies while the IJK and KMDK will field candidates on one seat each.
The development marks a feather in the cap of local BJP leaders who were engaged in protracted negotiations over seat allocation. By exploiting a “pro-Modi mood” in Tamil Nadu, the BJP hopes to garner more than 16 per cent votes and at least four Lok Sabha seats, which are crucial for its 272-plus ambition. So far, the BJP has not managed more than 2 per cent votes in the state.
Singh’s announcement was made in the presence of Vijayakanth, PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss, MDMK’s Vaiko, IJK’s Pachamuthu and KMDK’s Easwaran. But it came only after confabulations spread over four hours, spent ironing out the allies’ differences over certain seats. He managed to convince the PMK to give up its claim on the Salem seat and accommodate the DMDK’s request.
“The nation is yearning for a decisive change. In the south, including in TN, people want to see an NDA government with Modi as PM,” Singh declared. He even called it a “historic moment” in TN as the Congress has been left without any ally.
Prof Ramu Manivannan of Madras University said: “The alliance is not as strong as it appears. There are serious contradictions between the partners, like the DMDK and PMK. This will obviously cost the alliance dear.”