It was an impressive line-up of political leaders on a common poll platform that Tamil Nadu has not seen for a long time. On Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party national president Rajnath Singh formally announced the entry of six political parties in the state into the National Democratic Alliance fold to fight the coming parliamentary elections.
With slogans of party workers renting the air, Singh took the dais along with DMDK chief Vijayakant, Captain’s brother-in-law and senior leader L K Sudheesh, PMK leaders Dr Anbumani Ramadoss and G K Mani, MDMK leader Vaiko, E R Easwaran of Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi (KMDK) and Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi president T R Pachamuthu. Senior BJP leaders, including state unit president Pon Radhakrishnan, L Ganesan, H Raja, C P Radhakrishnan and Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, and the architect of the alliance Tamilaruvi Manian were also present.
Announcing the much-anticipated seat-sharing arrangement with the allies, the BJP chief told a crowded press conference that out of the total 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, DMDK would contest 14, PMK and BJP would get eight each, MDMK seven and KMDK and IJP one each. However, the announcement was not without the final dose of suspense, uncertainty and speculation that had marked the seat-sharing talks all along. It finally came after a four-hour delay, with minor changes in seat allocation. Tirupur, for instance, which was allotted to KMDK, was transferred to DMDK, while the latter gave away Tiruvannamalai to PMK. In return, the Vanniyar outfit agreed not to press for Salem.
Waxing eloquent about the ancient Tamil civilisation, Singh said Tamil Nadu would play an important role in saving the future of the country.