Sunday, March 13, 2011

DMK, AIADMK seat sharing talks proving tough and contentious

Chennai: With just six days for nominations to open for the April 13 polls to the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the political scene is yet to emerge clear with seat sharing talks in both ruling DMK and AIADMK fronts proving tough and contentious.
After the Congress-DMK clinched a deal at the end of protracted negotiations under which Congress will contest 63 seats, identification of constituencies has now become difficult with both parties sticking to their guns. 

Under the deal early this week, DMK will contest 121 seats, PMK 30, Viduthlalai Chiruthaigal Katchi 10, Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam 7, IUML two and Moovender Munetra Kazhagam one, the last two seeking election on the DMK symbol.

In the rainbow alliance led by opposition AIADMK, DMDK floated by actor Vijaykant has been allotted 41 seats, Manitha Neya Munnetra Kazhagam three, Puthiya Tamizhagam two, Samathuva Makkal Katchi of actor Sarathkumar two and Natalum Makkal Katchi floated by actor Karthick, All India Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam, AIFB, Kongu Makkal Ilaignar Peravai and RPI one each.

Seat sharing talks with Left parties and MDMK have got bogged down with these parties demanding more seats.

Firm on contesting at least 144 seats, the AIADMK leadership is in no mood to give more seats to these parties, party sources said.

Though DMK clinched the deal with Congress after the talks got deadlocked over the issue of seat allocation and seat identification, cadres of both parties are yet to forget the mental stress and anxiety they faced in the last fortnight.

It would be difficult for the leadership of both parties to prevail on them to launch the election campaign straightaway.

Haunted by the 2G spectrum scam, which AIADMK has already made an election issue, the DMK leadership is also worried about the recent questioning of party patriach M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu and daughter Kanimozhi by CBI.

While DMK is pinning its hopes on the 'development theme' as its main thrust during electioneering, AIADMK is harping on 2G spectrum scam and 'misrule' of Karunanidhi.

The Congress, for the first time in the recent past, did not submit itself to its regional ally, but stood firm on its demand of 63 seats and got it.

The Congress thinking is that after the polls if neither DMK or AIADMK is able to get an absolute majority, its role will be crucial in such a scenario.

Though AIADMK finalised its alliance pattern much before DMK, it has been unable to get into the nitty gritty of seat sharing with allies. It is yet to work out with its partners the issue of identifying constituencies for each party.

Unmindful of non-completion of seat sharing exercise, both the DMK and AIADMK have started the process of selection of candidates, but will have to wait till they complete the exercise of identification of constituencies with allies.

Selection of candidates is going to be a major problem for faction-ridden Congress, where the one headed by Union Shipping Minister GK Vasan is dominant. It has to satisfy leaders like Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, former union ministers EVKS Elangovan and R Prabhu, both defeated in Lok Sabha polls.

The party is yet to begin preliminary work of getting applications from aspirants, while its major opposition at the national level, BJP, has said it would be sending its list to its central election committee by tomorrow.

BJP has announced it would go it alone, projecting itself as an alternative to the two major Dravidian parties DMK and AIADMK and has already named its candidates for over 130 seats.

No decision reached yet on Cong constituencies

Chennai: The talks to identify the seats to be contested by Congress in alliance with DMK for Tamil Nadu assembly polls remained inconclusive today with the 5-member Congress committee, supposed to wrap up the deal, not turning up at the ruling party headquarters on Saturday.

Four round of talks held in the past two days remained inconclusive.

Congress sources said the talks could not be completed as there were differences over some constituencies.

While Congress would get the 48 seats it had contested in the last elections, discussions were on to decide the remaining 15 seats, the sources said.

The DMK election committee panel headed by Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin was busy since morning conducting interviews with the party's prospective candidates for the fifth consecutive day.