With All India NR Congress and PMK set to enter the Lok Sabha poll fray in Puducherry, it is now clear that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) chapter in Tamil Nadu will not be replicated here. As Express had reported on Monday, the BJP has accepted AINRC nominee R Radhakrishnan as the NDA candidate for the elections. In other words, N Rangasamy’s party and the BJP constitute the NDA in Puducherry. It is up to the allies in the Tamil Nadu chapter to take their call on joining the NDA here.
Persuing this logic, a BJP delegation led by State unit chief M Visweswaran on Tuesday handed over a letter to State PMK organising secretary and candidate RKR Anantharaman, intimating him about the seat allocation to AINRC. The PMK, however, refused to budge. “We will contest with or without alliance,” Anantharaman said while addressing a press conference here. He claimed he was promised the seat by the NDA and that talks were on. He refused to accept that the TN NDA was a standalone arrangement that need not be replicated in Puducherry.
When pointed out that BJP executive committee member K Laxman, who is in-charge of Puducherry, had clarified that the seat had been given to AINRC, he said the announcement should be made here or a written agreement should be produced.
Although Chief Minister N Rangasamy said he would speak to PMK leaders, including party founder Dr S Ramadoss and his son Dr Anbumani, the party appears to be determined to contest.
The squabble has put the Tamil Nadu NDA allies in a piquant situation, as supporting AINRC could be read as betrayal by the PMK, which could impact the transfer of PMK votes to them in Tamil Nadu. That was the main reason why DMDK leader Vijaykant sidestepped the political minefield and cancelled his scheduled campaign in Puducherry on Monday.
PMK’s entry into the poll fray is bad news for the AINRC, since the Vanniyar votes would get fragmented. Lack of Vanniyar consolidation could help Congress’ Union minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy, who is seeking re-election.