The BJP and DMDK appear to have finalised their seat-sharing agreement, details of which are expected to be announced by the BJP leadership at Delhi on Sunday.
DMDK founder Vijayakant gave a sense of the poll pact while campaigning at Arcot, Cheyyar and Vellore on Saturday, since he sought support for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, for the first time.
The 14 constituencies that could be allotted to the DMDK are Tiruvallur, Central Chennai, North Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Tiruchy, Tirunelveli, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Kallakurichi, Tiruvannamalai, Pollachi, Namakkal and Dindigul. List included the five constituencies Vijayakant unilaterally announced on Friday.
A senior DMDK leader told Express that the party had given up its claim on at least six seats from where it had done well in the past. “Our leader Captain sacrificed a lot for the sake of alliance while finalising the seats. We gave up Arani, Sriperumbudur, Tirupur, Erode, Coimbatore and Arakkonam - seats where we had shown our popularity in the past.”
The NDA is learnt to have allotted Dharmapuri, Arakkonam, Arani, Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam and Krishnagiri to the PMK. The sticky seats are Tanjore or Vellore - one of them will go to the PMK and the other to the BJP.
The MDMK might get Virudhunagar, Tuticorin, Tenkasi, Theni, Karur, Kancheepuram and Erode.
The BJP is expected to contest from Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, South Chennai, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Nilgiris, and Sriperumpudur besides Tanjore or Vellore. The Tirupur seat is understood to have been given to the KNDMK.
The biggest hint of the poll alliance came from Vijayakant, when he appealed to the voters of Arakonam to vote for the BJP alliance and make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister. This was the first time he had openly sought a mandate for Modi.
Addressing a public meeting at Arcot on Saturday, he said, “if India should emerge as a corruption-free country, people should vote for the BJP.”
While the BJP is said to have allocated Arakkonam to the PMK, Vijayakant made no reference to the PMK candidate, but harped on a positive vote for the BJP-led alliance.
Vijayakant, who arrived late by almost four hours in his publicity van to the meeting venue, apologized to the cadre saying, “the delay was due to the alliance talks with the BJP and things being sorted out.”
He said his party which has been spearheading a movement to uproot corruption. He recalled it was during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as NDA’s prime minister that the country had for the first time conceived the Golden Quadrilateral highway project that helped develop road and industrial infrastructure.
“Your vote should pave way for change,” he said, and asked the crowd: “Will you vote for Modi?” “Yes,” they said in unison.
PMK’s firebrand leader Kaduvetti Guru too sought votes for party candidate R Velu in Arakkonam. He said around two crore Vanniyars in the State were being sidelined and exploited for political gains by various parties. “It was time people taught those parties a good lesson by electing Velu,” Guru said.
Guru recalled that Velu, during his stint as junior Railways minister, had worked hard to inmprove the sector. “It’s payback time. You ought to elect him with a big majority,” he said.