In a major development, Tamil Nadu's main opposition AIADMK and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Friday pledged to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections jointly.
AIADMK leader and former chief minister J Jayalalitha and CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat made the announcement after holding talks in Chennai.
"It has been decided that the AIADMK and the CPI-M will enter into an electoral alliance to face the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. I am very happy with the outcome of the talks," Jayalalitha told reporters.
Karat said the decision was taken by his party after the politburo approved the Tamil Nadu unit's decision to dump the ruling DMK and go with the AIADMK.
"It has been decided that our party will work in cooperation with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. It is for that that I have come and met Jayalalitha and discussed with her how our party can work together and forge a common undersanding," he said.
Karat added that there had been "a very good understanding" and the two parties would meet again to discuss the modalities of fighting the general elections jointly in Tamil Nadu.
The CPI-M has allied with the DMK for years in Tamil Nadu, which accounts for 39 Lok Sabha seats. Presently, the AIADMK has no presence in the Lok Sabha.