Seat Choice Still the Sticky Point for BJP Alliance
Even as hectic talks are on to resolve the deadlock in sharing of seats among the BJP, DMDK, PMK and MDMK for the Lok Sabha elections, leaders of the saffron party on Tuesday indicated “the problem no longer lies with the numbers but only the constituencies.” As per the seat-sharing formula, DMDK takes a lion’s share of 14 seats while the BJP and PMK have eight each and the MDMK six. The
Indiya Jananayaga Party (IJP), Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (Easwaran faction) and A C Shanmugam’s New Justice Party get one seat each.
According to a BJP leader, the PMK would contest a total of eight seats with or without Puducherry. Besides, no assurances have been held out to the Vanniyar-dominant outfit with respect to a Rajya Sabha seat or cabinet berth, he added. Both PMK and DMDK have staked their claim to the same seats in the northern districts. While there are no issues over the BJP contesting from six seats - Coimbatore, Sivaganga, South Chennai, Nagercoil, Ramanathapuram and Nilgiris - a deadlock persists on the allocation of remaining two.
Rumblings are also growing loud within the BJP, with a senior woman party functionary reportedly staking her claim for the Coimbatore seat, amid stiff opposition from local party activists. The seat was earlier held by senior party leader C P Radhakrishnan, who is expected to contest again. “If she manages to get the seat, party workers will bring out three lakh booklets, listing out her past misdeeds, and distribute them among the voters,” a BJP source warned.
Also, a senior Delhi-based party functionary is reportedly lobbying for the South Chennai constituency from where BJP national executive member L Ganesan is expected to contest, according to another source.
Given this situation, a party negotiator said the BJP was trying to persuade the PMK to give up either Arani or Arakkonam, preferably the latter. It also wanted the PMK to concede one seat out of Salem, Krishnagiri, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvannamalai. “But the party is not budging from its stand,” he said. With national BJP president Rajnath Singh scheduled to arrive here on March 14 to officially announce the alliance and distribution of seats, State unit president Pon Radhakrishnan is expected to fly to New Delhi on Wednesday with the final seat-sharing formula for getting it vetted.
The next two days are, therefore, crucial. “We will be going to the polls together,” said the senior leader.