Seat identification for DMDK-PWF may be uphill task

With just a few days left for the final announcement on constituencies for each of the allies in the DMDK-PWF combine, discussions for identification of seats are at a hectic pace now.
Seat identification for DMDK-PWF may be uphill task
Fact File

Chennai

However, it may turn out to be a tough process as the allies have strongholds scattered across the four regions in Tamil Nadu. Political observers feel that in many places, there is likely to be a clash of interests between the DMDK and other allies. 
For instance, in Dharmapuri, once a Naxal-infested pocket, the Left parties have a strong presence along with the VCK. Similarly, the DMDK also has a good base and a recent boost was the arrival of Mullaivendan, ex-DMK minister into the party. He was elected to the Assembly thrice from Morappur in 1989, 1996 and in 2006 and has a lot of respectability in the district. 
A DMDK insider said, “Anbumani Ramadoss, the CM candidate of PMK, is tipped to contest from Pennagaram bypoll. Earlier, he fought from Dharmapuri and was elected to the LS in 2014. So, in order to give a tough fight to the PMK, only a local challenger like Mullaivendan can measure up. In fact, Mullaivendan has a good command in the district and his work can help the DMDK in several seats.” 
In the same way, many western districts backed DMDK MLAs in the last election. At the same time, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Namakkal and Salem being industrial belts, the Left may pitch for more seats here, said Senthivel, a political observer from Salem. 
When it comes to southern districts, the Left will not compromise on Madurai as the Temple City is their fort. “True, Communists have won in many Assembly segments and have also triumphed in LS polls,” pointed out R Murali, a political observer and a national party member in Madurai. 
Being the hometown of Vijayakant, the DMDK may seek one or two seats in the city, he added.While Ramnad and Sivaganga will not pose much problem, Dindigul might see an intense tussle between VCK and Left. 
Theni, undoubtedly, will be the key focus of MDMK as Vaiko has many supporters among farmers and general public owing to his sustained fight for rights in the Periyar dam row. “Due to this factor, the MDMK must get Theni without much trouble,” says Murali. But, there could be intense bargaining between DMDK and MDMK for districts like Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli as the former has a good number of MLAs from these areas. However, Vaiko, who hails from this region, may stake claim for more seats here as his native place also comes under this belt,” said Tirunavukkarasu, a Left party sympathiser. According to him, there won’t be much demand for seats in Kanyakumari district as it has always been a national party bastion. So, the Communists will have a good say in this district. 
Some crucial areas that will draw attention of all the parties are likely to be central and northern districts. “A lot of deliberations will take place for central districts as the DMDK, Left and the VCK have good base in many areas. Probably, both the Left and the VCK may try hard to get sizable number of seats here,” said Ranganathan, a law graduate in Tiruchi.
The scene is nearly the same in the northern districts too, which includes Chennai. With DMDK having a strong presence in almost all districts -- Villupuram, Cuddalore, Chennai, Kanchi, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Tiruvallur -- there is a significant number of reserved seats here, which may bring VCK into focus. “Due to the wide presence of industrial units in Kanchi, Vellore and Tiruvallur, Left will also push for a decent share,” Muthuvel, a TU member said. Chennai being the power corridor of the State, every party in the DMDK-PWF alliance will make a strong pitch for a decent share of the 16 seats, said Ganesan, a political observer from Chennai.

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