Grumpy PMK sets Monday deadline, Demands Respect
Even as formal talks on seat-sharing among major National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners in Tamil Nadu such as the BJP, DMDK, PMK and MDMK have begun, rumblings within the allies are growing louder and threatening to upset the newly formed union.
Talks with the PMK, for instance, are not going in the right direction, sources close to the Vanniyar outfit told Express. A major factor behind the growing dissatisfaction is the forfeiting of the alliance leadership by the BJP in favour of the DMDK. “In the party’s assessment, the BJP failed to act like a leader,” the sources said.
In particular, the saffron party’s relentless wooing of ‘Captain’ seems to have upset top PMK leaders. Besides, they are not happy with both the number of seats and the constituencies being offered to them. Regardless of the poll results in the State, the sources said, the PMK also wants a Rajya Sabha seat and the Union Health Ministry for Dr Anbumani Ramadoss. “If things don’t materialise to the PMK’s satisfaction by Monday and the party is not treated with respect, it will quit the alliance and fight on its own,” the sources added.
Admitting the ominous development, BJP sources claimed it was State unit president Pon Radhakrishnan, who was extremely keen on forging a tie-up with the DMDK for the polls. Vijayakant’s party had secured more than 60,000 votes in Nagercoil, where the BJP leader had contested and lost in 2009, while the PMK and MDMK barely had any presence in the constituency.
Hence, the relentless wooing of Captain despite the fact that the BJP’s ultimatum to the DMDK on the tie-up backfired on March 5 and Radhakrishnan was forced to call off a press meet that he was scheduled to address that day. The State BJP leadership, the sources said, tried to arm-twist Vijayakant by asking him to convey his decision by 2 pm. However, DMDK leaders complained to the BJP central leadership, which immediately summoned Radhakrishnan and other leaders like L Ganesan and Mohanrajulu to New Delhi. The power granted to the State unit to act on its own was withdrawn and the leaders were told that all decisions, henceforth, had to be made only in consultation with the party’s Central leadership.
Likewise, the MDMK has been maintaining a studied silence.