Twenty-five days have passed since the ruling AIADMK formed the mega-alliance comprising the BJP and the PMK, but the NDA partners are still finding it difficult to agree on the seats between the parties.
According to informed AIADMK sources, Kongu region, which has been the citadel for the ruling party and Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha segment, has become a bone of contention between the BJP and the AIADMK.
Secondly, Kallakurichi, Krishnagiri and Salem are the most sought after seats within the NDA partners. Some seats like The Nilgiris, Central Chennai and North Chennai are freely available, but there are no takers.
However, the AIADMK parliamentary board has cleared the names of sitting MPs Thambidurai, D Jayavardhan, Anwar Raja and O Panneerselvam’s elder son Ravindranth as potential candidates. The candidates’ list is almost ready, but due to the tussle in seats, the announcement is getting delayed, sources said.
More focus is being given to MLAs’ seats than the MP seats and the party Ministers are to be appointed as Assembly seat in-charges soon, sources said.
“The AIADMK wants to field at least one Muslim candidate and for this reason, the party wants to retain the sitting MP Anwar Raja in Ramanathapuram, but the BJP is keen on this seat,” explained a senior AIADMK functionary. Earlier, the BJPs focus was only on Coimbatore, Erode and Tirupur, but now a sudden interest on Ramanathapuram has cropped up agitating the rank and file in the AIADMK.
Party leader and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wants to retain the seat and this had created a deadlock between the AIADMK and the BJP, the functionary said.
Again, Kallakurichi, Salem and Krishnagiri are constituencies that had affected the final list of NDA candidates. There are some seats like The Nilgiris and Central Chennai where AIADMK allies are not interested to contest and there are seats like Salem and Coimbatore where every party wants to field its candidate. Though the deadlock continues, the seats are to be finalised before Saturday, AIADMK sources told DT Next.
“Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the Tamil Nadu in-charge for the BJP, has been making multiple sorties between Chennai and New Delhi to get the correct potential seats, but what will the AIADMK get by sacrificing all the winning seats to allies,” asked an aspiring AIADMK candidate. Senior Ministers P Thangamani and SP Velumani are negotiating with the alliance partners and they are not able to dictate terms. Further, a section of AIADMK sitting MPs is ready to create a revolt if denied tickets, the aspirant said that the time is running out for the candidates to start the campaign.
The AIADMK has already announced three committees – for seat sharing, manifesto preparation and election campaigning. Elections have been announced but till the seat identification is yet to be decided, party insiders fumed. Even the party’s manifesto is ready but if released after the candidates’ list it will have a campaign value and for this reason the release of the manifesto is also put on hold.
It may be noted that both party convenor OPS and Minister D Jayakumar has told reporters that there is no set back in seat sharing.