Sunday, March 20, 2011

MDMK breaks away from AIADMK, to boycott elections

Chennai, March 20 : Slighted by Tamil Nadu's main opposition party, Vaiko's MDMK Sunday said it had snapped links with the AIADMK and will not take part in assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The MDMK said it was hurt by the "arrogant attitude" of AIADMK general secretary and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa and decided it was not feasible to remain in the AIADMK-led alliance.

But the MDMK ruled out the formation of a third front or contesting alone. It said it would boycott the April 13 elections.

According to MDMK, it initially asked for 35 of the 234 seats to contest. It scaled down the number to 30. But the AIADMK offered only six seats.

Later, the AIADMK increased its offer to nine seats while MDMK scaled down its demand to 21. But the AIADMK remained adamant, leading to Vaiko's parting of ways.

The AIADMK has sealed seat-sharing agreements with 10 parties for 74 seats and announced its candidates for the remaining 160.

A MDMK leader told IANS that the party felt that the AIADMK was in no mood to accommodate Vaiko -- Jayalalithaa's oldest ally.

The AIADMK feels that Vaiko -- a former DMK stalwart and a vocal supporter of Sri Lanka's vanquished Tamil Tigers -- is a spent force, with many of his senior colleagues deserting him.

'Elections kings' at it again in TN Assembly elections

Coimbatore: Two residents of western Tamil Nadu, popularly called 'election kings'- one already with over 100 nominations and another approaching the silver jubilee figure of contesting polls- are at it again in the upcoming April 13 Assembly polls in the state.

While K Padmarajan, a tyre vulcanising shop owner, filed his nomination from Mettur Assembly Constituency in Salem district, Noor Mohammed, a businessman, filed his candidature from Kinathukadavu in Coimbatore district yesterday.
For Padmarajan, this will be the 120th occasion he is contesting Parliament or Assembly elections since his 'debut' in 1988 while for Noor it will be the 24th, more than a decade after his entry into the fray in 1996.

Since then, Noor (53) has tried his luck from Coimbatore, Madurai and Pollachi and has been a regular in all polls including by-elections.

He has become popular by dressing up in different attires and styles when filing his nomination -- be it as a king riding a horse, riding on a bullock cart to mark increased petrol prices, and so on. This time around, Noor arrived with a hurricane lamp and a mud pot, to depict the power shortage in the state and the condition of people in villages.

For the 52-year-old Padmarajan, contesting elections has become a passion and a way to enter the record books, despite continuously facing defeat.

Padmarajan filed nominations from Chepauk, Chennai, against DMK president M Karunanidhi in the 2006 elections and this time around, he plans to file his papers against Deputy Chief Minister, M K Stalin.

He said he has also filed nominations against former Prime Ministers A B Vajpayee and P V Narasimha Rao, late G K Moopanar, former Kerala Chief Minister A K Antony and also against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha in 2007, but the papers were rejected.

Padmarajan said he has also tried to contest against Presidential candidates six times and once filed nominations against the late President K R Narayanan in 1997.

"I am not bothered about the outcome. I just want to have a record in my name," Padmarajan says. 

CPI-M asks MDMK to reconsider decision of not contesting polls

Chennai: Describing MDMK's decision of not contesting the assembly polls as 'regrettable,' CPIM's Tamil Nadu unit on Sunday appealed to the Vaiko-led party to reconsider its decision, saying it had an 'important part' to play in the efforts to dethrone the 'anti-people' DMK government.
CPI-M state unit secretray G Ramakrishnan said various parties inlcuding the Left were fighting from the AIADMK-led alliance to defeat the 'scam-tainted' DMK-Congress combine.

"All these parties are fighting from a common platform to defeat the DMK for its anti-people policies in which MDMK has an important part to play. Their decision to not contest the election is regrettable,'' he said in a statement.

Holding that it was important to defeat the DMK-Congress combine, he urged MDMK to reconsider his decision and play an 'important part in the democratic struggle.'

The Left parties, DMDK and some smaller outfits are all part of the AIADMK-led front.

Following differences in seat-sharing with its lead partner AIADMK, MDMK today decided not to participate in the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. 

DMK freebies will not help people develop: Seeman

Ramanathapuram: 'Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam' (We are Tamil Movement) leader and film director Seeman on Sunday described the freebies announced by the DMK in its election manifesto for the April 13 Tamil Nadu assembly elections as schemes that would "defeat the people of Tamil Nadu" and would not help them develop.
Claiming that the State government already owed Rs One lakh crore in loan, Seeman wondered what would happen to the finances if further freebies were announced. The ruling party worried about the people only during the elections and did not bother about their sufferings after the polls, he alleged.

In DMK's election manifesto released yesterday, the ruling party promised it would distribute free mixies or grinders to women, free laptops to SC/ST students and free rice of 35 kg to BPL families if voted back to power. 

Political scene still unclear in poll-bound Tamil Nadu

Chennai: Even a day after the filing of nominations opened for April 13 assembly polls began in Tamil Nadu, the political scene remains unclear, with the AIADMK still struggling to put the alliance led by it in shape.

On the one hand, the identification of seats to be contested by DMDK, second largest constituent in the rainbow alliance, was yet to be completed and on the other, MDMK has pulled out of the front.
The MDMK withdrew charging the AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa with not having learnt lessons from past experience and still persisting with her "arrogant ways".

MDMK, a long standing AIADMK ally, refused to accept the offer of 13 seats and decided not to contest at all.
In the ruling DMK front, seat identification with its allies had been completed with the party deciding to contest 119 seats, leaving 63 to the Congress, 30 to the PMK, 10 to VCK, seven to Kongu Nadu Munnetra Katchi, three to IUML and one each to Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam and Perunthalivar Makkal Katchi, a nadar community based party.

The DMK has already named its candidates for all the 119 seats, while senior Congress leaders are flocking to New Delhi to secure party tickets for their followers. Other parties in the front have already named their candidates.

The AIADMK, which has already released a list of 160 candidates, withdrew it yesterday and said it would come out with a fresh list tomorrow after its action raised the hackles of its allies.

Party activists in several places in the state were protesting against the choice of the nominees, compelling party supremo Jayalalithaa to have a relook at the list.

Protracted negotiations with actor Vijayakanth's DMDK had not yielded results so far as he was said to be firm on securing at least one seat in every district and in some particular constituencies.

The talks were going ahead and a result was expected to emerge only tomorrow. AIADMK had allotted 41 seats to DMDK, 12 to CPI-M, ten to CPI; three to Muslims backed Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi, two to actor Sharathkumar floated All India Samuthuva Katchi, one each to All India Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam, RPI and Kongu Ilaginar Pervai.

The belligerent attitude of the AIADMK's allies has affected Jayalalithaa's campaign plans, according to which she was scheduled to have hit the streets on Thursday last itself, but had to postpone it due to bickering over seat sharing.

As many as 54 candidates including Tamil Nadu ministers K Anbazhagan and S Palanisamy filed their nominations yesterday, the opening day. 

DMDK identifies constituencies for TN Assembly Elections

Chennai: A three-day crisis that threatened to break the AIADMK camp ended Sunday with its major ally DMDK agreeing to contest from the 41 constituencies allotted to it in Tamil Nadu.

DMDK presidium chairman Panruti S. Ramachandran said the 41 places had been identified and awaited the formal approval by the party's leader-cum- actor Vijayakant.

This followed marathon discussions Saturday night at AIADMK general secretary and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa's residence.

With this, the battle lines have been drawn between the two major fronts led by the ruling DMK and the main opposition AIADMK in the April 13 polls for the 234-seat Tamil Nadu assembly.

Although the AIADMK has sewed up alliances for 74 of the 234 seats with 10 small and big parties, Jayalalithaa's main worry was to carry along the hugely popular Vijayakant, who has the power to make or break her combine.

Besides the DMDK, the other parties which will fight the elections in alliance with the AIADMK are the CPI-M (12 seats), CPI (10), MNMK (3), PT (2), SMK (2), RPI (1), FB (1), KYF (1) and AIMMK (1)
But it did lose a long-time ally in Vaiko's MDMK, which quit the AIADMK alliance after accusing Jayalalithaa of arrogance. The MDMK is to boycott the elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The MDMK initially asked for 35 seats and later scaled down the number to 21 whereas the AIADMK's final offer was 12 seats.

Jayalalithaa said she regretted Vaiko's exit and said her respect and affection for him would never diminish.

Sunday's developments also cap the AIADMK's troubles that arose March 17 when it unilaterally released the list of 160 constituencies it desired to contest.

Most parties in the front were furious. Faced with a possible Third Front, the AIADMK opened fresh discussions with its partners.

The AIADMK is expected to release its official list of candidates Monday.

Jayalalithaa said Saturday that candidates who figure in the March 21 list should file their nominations March 24 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.