Line up for Tamil Nadu assembly battle up ahead in May is getting clearer as alliances are being formed up.
On major tie ups, the ruling DMK has stolen a march over its arch rival AIADMK that is still some distance away from tying up with film actor Vijaykant-led DMDK, that an observer asserts, would make the contest close and keen in the state.The scriptwriter in Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK patriarch Karunanidhi scored a march over the actress and bete noire in state politics AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa when he strengthened his hands in northern TN by forcing the Vanniyar caste based regional outfit, Pattali Makkal Katchi to sign on the dotted line without giving in to its stiff demands. He alloted 31 seats to PMK and a Rajya Sabha seat, an arrangement PMK had in 2006 elections when it was a part of DMK-led alliance.
The closing of DMK-PMK deal comes ahead of AIADMK's efforts to rope in film actor Vijaykant, who is also said to have upped the ante. His demand of some 60 to 80 seats has met with a stony silence from Jayalalithaa. She had however announced a tie up with two smaller Dalit formations -- Pudiya Tamizhagam and Indhiya Kuiarasu Katchi by allotting them two seats and one seat respectively.
Even as it hangs in balance, Karunanidhi firmed up the alliance with PMK, when its founder S Ramadoss came calling on Friday morning at his Gopalapuram residence.
The chief minister put an end over PMK's entry into DMK fold by allotting it 31 seats and one Rajya Sabha seat, which paves the way for entry of former union health minister and PMK founder president's son Anbumani Ramadoss into the Rajya Sabha.
The DMK chief ensured that he did not part with a single seat more than what was given to PMK when it fought the 2006 assembly elections along with the DMK, Congress, Left and IUML. On the eve of parliament elections, PMK left the alliance to join AIADMK but came a cropper in the parliament polls in 2009.
Ever since, the PMK has been making conscious efforts to return to the DMK fold.
It was thought the PMK had botched up its chances, when Ramadoss contradicted chief minister Karunanidhi's announcement earlier this month in Delhi that PMK was its alliance partner and hinted that re-entry of PMK would be highly improbable. Karunanidhi had also hinted at AICC president and UPA chairperson's objections to PMK when addressing DMK's general council meeting earlier this month.
However, PMK's tie up with DMK was possible only after former union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss called on AICC president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday. He told press persons after his meeting that it was very cordial. He had also met some senior Congress leaders.
So, when his father and founder president of PMK called on chief minister at his residence in Chennai, a formal tie up was very much on the cards.
Speaking to the media at his residence on Friday, a little after formally signing the tie up with PMK, Karunanidhi said, "I met Sonia Gandhi (Congress president in Delhi). It was then decided that DMK and Congress would fight the assembly elections together. In continuation of that, today PMK has been admitted into the DMK led front."
It was a relieved and visibly Happy Ramadoss who said, "We have been allotted 31 seas and one Rajya Sabha seat." He sounded confident that the DMK-led alliance would score a resounding victory at the hustings.
With this, the alliance talks have moved onto the stage of concrete seat sharing talks level. The Congress and the DMK have already constituted panels to discuss the number and nature of seats to be fought by respective parties under the alliance. The Congress has been pitching for some 80 seats and wants a share in power.