DMK to contest 20 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, along with 8 allies
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) will contest 20 out of Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha seats and leave the rest for its allies, including the Congress, the party announced on Tuesday.
The party has left nine seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry’s lone seat for the Congress, DMK chief MK Stalin said as his party completed seat-sharing negotiations with its allies.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi have been allotted two seats each. The Indian Union Muslim League, Kongu Nadu Makkal Desiya Katchi and Indhiya Jananayaga Katch will contest one seat each.
Tamil Nadu has the most Lok Sabha seats – 39 – after Uttar Pradesh (80), Maharashtra (48) and West Bengal (42).
DMK’s arch-rival and ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) swept the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu in 2014 and won 37 out of the 39 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to win just one seat while the DMK and Congress failed to win any.
The BJP is contesting five seats in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 national polls in alliance with AIADMK in Tamil Nadu as it seeks to return to power at the Centre. It has peaked in its western and northern Indian strongholds like Uttar Pradesh, where it won 71 out of the 80 seats in 2014.
Former Parliament member Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) is expected to finalise its alliance with the DMK on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the development. The two parties have held three rounds of talks and the DMK is likely to offer MDMK one Lok Sabha seat and a Rajya Sabha berth for Vaiko. The DMK’s insistence on having the MDMK contest on its rising sun symbol is believed to have delayed their alliance. A top is the MDMK’s symbol.
Stalin’s half-sister and Rajya Sabha member, Kanimozhi, has applied for DMK ticket to contest from Thoothukudi while former Union minister A Raja, is likely to contest from Nilgiris.
The AIADMK, which is contesting 20 seats, was keen to ensure the entry of actor Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam into its alliance before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Chennai on Wednesday. It has allotted seven seats to Pattali Makkal Katchi apart from five to the BJP. Puthiya Thamizhagam and the New Justice Party have been given one seat each.
The AIADMK has been trying to make sure the leaders of all its alliance partners share the dais with Modi for Wednesday rally, first of the NDA in the state. Modi has earlier addressed BJP’s public meetings in Madurai, Tiruppur, and Kanniyakumari.