In Tamil Nadu, It's DMK-Congress vs BJP, Ex-Ally AIADMK In Seat-Share Race

The DMK has not yet completed a deal with the Congress, which contested nine seats in the 2019 general election and won eight.

In Tamil Nadu, It's DMK-Congress vs BJP, Ex-Ally AIADMK In Seat-Share Race

PM Modi has made four visits to Tamil Nadu already this year (File).

New Delhi:

The race to conclude seat-share deals in Tamil Nadu - where the political landscape is dominated by the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam - is picking up pace with Lok Sabha election dates likely to be announced soon.

Chief Minister MK Stalin's DMK is working on an accord with the Congress, an INDIA bloc ally with whom it scored dominant wins in the 2019 general and 2021 state elections. In 2019 the Congress won eight of nine seats. Talks with smaller allies - like the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi - are also pending.

The slow pace of talks has been noted by another of the DMK-Congress' allies - Vaiko's Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which, sources said, wants two seats. The DMK only wants to give one.

In 2019 it was given one Lok Sabha seat (which it won) and one in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Stalin's party has, though, allotted two seats each to the Communist Party of India and CPIM, as well as one each to the Indian Union Muslim League and the Kongu Desa Makkal Katchi. In 2019 too, the CPI and CPIM contested four (and won four) and the IUML and KDMK one each, which they won.

READ | DMK-Congress, AIADMK, BJP In Lok Sabha Seat-Share Race

AIADMK-BJP: Allies Or Rivals?

Meanwhile, the AIADMK and the Bharatiya Janata Party - from whose side the former forced an acrimonious split in September last year - are each courting S Ramadoss' Pattali Makkal Katchi, as they try to cobble together an alliance to take on the DMK-Congress and their smaller allies.

The PMK was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2019 poll, and was given seven seats from the AIADMK's share. The smaller party, however, lost in all seven constituencies.

Nevertheless, Mr Ramadoss' party - which has a vote-share of over five per cent compared to the BJP's three per cent - is talking to both the AIADMK and the national outfit ahead of this election.

The BJP and AIADMK will also likely go head-to-head to sign-on K Krishnasamy's Puthiya Thamizhagam, which, sources hint, is closer to the latter party.

The BJP - which has traditionally struggled in Tamil Nadu, is has not had a major partner since the AIADMK walked away. The Tamil party accused the BJP's state boss, K Annamalai, of attacking its senior leaders, including party founder MG Ramachandran and his mentor, CN Annadurai.

Mr Annamalai - who has been entrusted with the task of reviving his party's fortunes in the state - is on his way to Delhi with a list of 39 candidates, suggesting the BJP is ready to to contest on its own if necessary. The preference, he said, is for women candidates, but the party will take all final calls.

READ | BJP's Hunt For Tamil Nadu Allies In Focus On PM's 4th Visit

The BJP has struck a deal with GK Vasan's Tamil Maanila Congress - which contested and lost one seat in the last Lok Sabha election - but is still shopping for allies to boost its profile in the state.

Also, the BJP has not yet given up hope its former ally will make a U-turn. Last week, in what was seen as an olive branch, the party used photos of MGR and his heir, J Jayalalithaa, in its posters.

READ | BJP Gets "Field Nirmala Sitharaman" Dare From AIADMK Leader

The move was not well received; the AIADMK called it "cheap politics". "We are clear... no return to NDA. They are spreading fake news," the D Jayakumar said.

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