Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK and its alliance partner BJP were left red-faced today as actor Vijayakanth's party, the DMDK, skipped Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally, which was to mark the launch of their election campaign. The BJP had announced that the DMDK was on track to sign up for the alliance - Union minister Piyush Goyal had hinted at good news on that front. But the talks apparently hit a roadblock over seats and the opposition DMK claimed the DMDK had approached it for a better deal.
Sources indicate that Vijayakanth's party, which has a presence in northern Tamil Nadu, asked for seven seats and a berth in the Rajya Sabha -- on par with the PMK. The AIADMK is willing to give it only four seats.
In 2014, the AIADMK had won 37 of the state's 39 seats, with 44.3 per cent votes. With only 5.1 per cent votes, Vijayakanth had failed to win a single seat. The PMK had won one seat, so did the BJP.
On record, the AIADMK maintains the talks are on track. "The AIADMK has established a broad-based alliance. The proof of that is DMDK and Tamil Maanila Congress joining. We are poised for a major impact in 2019 polls," said senior AIADMK leader Dr V Maitreyan.
Senior DMDK leader LK Sudeesh, too, told reporters that there were "no roadblocks" in the talks and expressed hope that a deal would be hammered out within a day or two. He said he has also held talks on this with Piyush Goyal.
The DMK, meanwhile, created a stir, claiming the DMDK had approached it for a berth in the opposition alliance.
"I told them (DMDK) that there are no seats left to offer," DMK leader Duraimurugan was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. He, however, added, "Our top leader MK Stalin is out of town and I will apprise him about this".
The DMDK leaders, however, told reporters that they met Mr Duraimurugan for a "personal" reason.