The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the BJP on Tuesday sealed an alliance for the coming Lok Sabha elections under which the saffron party would contest five seats in the state.
The announcement was made by AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and Union minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal, party election in-charge for Tamil Nadu, who described it as a “mega alliance”.
This came after the second and final round of discussions held here by the two parties that also involved chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Panneerselvam said, “The AIADMK and BJP will have an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections which will be a mega and winning alliance.”
Goyal said, “We have agreed to contest elections under the leadership of Panneerselvam and Palaniswami in state and under leadership of (Narendra) Modiji at the Centre.”
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK clinched a deal with the S Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), offering the Vanniyar-based party seven out of 40 seats, including one in the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry.
It was not clear yet how many seats the AIADMK would contest.
That means the AIADMK, which swept the last national election, winning 37 seats, settles for at least 12 less.
The AIADMK, pursued by the BJP, held out for long and even declared more than once that such an alliance was out of the question. The BJP, having scored a duck in the last Tamil Nadu election, aggressively chased an alliance.
The AIADMK subsequently split down the middle with a rebel faction supporting Jayalalithaa’s closest aide VK Sasikala, who made a failed bid to take over the party and chief ministership before being jailed for corruption. Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran has launched AMMK and even won Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar constituency in a by-election.
The rival camp, DMK and Congress, may also announce their tie-up soon. DMK leader Kanimozhi met with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi yesterday with the offer of 10 seats.
Both the tie-ups, for now, miss the presence of megastars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, who plunged into politics last year and were perceived as big factors in the state.
Rajinikanth declared on Sunday that he would not contest the polls and that no party should use his outfit to capitalise on votes.