It begins talks with BJP and DMDK.
The ruling AIADMK got a head start in the negotiations with allies for the April 6 Assembly election on Saturday by sealing a pact with the PMK, giving it 23 seats. The constituencies will be allotted later.
The party also commenced talks with the BJP and finally reached out to actor Vijayakant of the DMDK late in the evening.
AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam announced the deal with the PMK in the presence of co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami. The deal went off smoothly against the backdrop of the government on Friday adopting a Bill in the Assembly providing 10.5% internal reservation for Vanniyars.
PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss said: “Our alliance will score a big victory…”
“As far as this election is concerned, our intention was to ensure reservation for the Vanniyars. We demanded it and the State government agreed to it. Therefore, we agreed to a lower number of seats.”
Thus, after a gap of 20 years, the PMK will face the Assembly election , as an ally of the AIADMK. In the 2001 election, the PMK won 20 seats out of the 27 it had contested in the company of the AIADMK. In 2009 and 2019, the two parties faced the Lok Sabha election together.
Mr. Anbumani said repeatedly that the party agreed to a lesser number of seats because the government met its demand for reservation. “In this election, we wanted to ensure that the 40-year-old demand of [PMK founder] Dr. Ramadoss — separate reservation for Vanniyar — has been agreed to. So, we have agreed to a lower number of seats.”
At night, Ministers P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani, along with AIADMK deputy coordinator K.P. Munusamy, called on Mr. Vijayakant at his residence. A DMDK source said that only discussions took place and the details would be announced on Sunday. Over the past month, the DMDK had repeatedly urged the AIADMK to hold talks with it and even warned that it was capable of fielding candidates in all 234 constituencies.
Earlier in the day, a delegation of BJP leaders, including Union Ministers V.K. Singh and G. Kishan Reddy, national general secretary C.T. Ravi and State president L. Murugan called on Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam.
Sources said the ruling party was inclined to set apart 20 to 22 seats for the BJP, whereas the latter was said to be pitching for a higher number of seats. A clear picture may emerge in a day or two. Besides, if around 15 seats are distributed among other prospective allies such as the DMDK and the TMC(M), the AIADMK will have to contest in about 180 seats, the sources indicated.
With Union Home Minister Amit Shah having political engagements in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Sunday, the seat-sharing exercise is expected to gather further momentum.