CHENNAI: Both the Dravidian majors are yet to conclude seat-sharing talks with their national allies. While DMK and Congress are still haggling over numbers with the Dravidian partner offering only 20 seats, 10 less than what was demanded by the grand old party BJP is reported to be persuading its ally, AIADMK, to consider joining hands with AMMK.
While Congress claims all is well within the alliance, the delay in Rahul Gandhi, who has visited the State several times since January, sharing a dais with MK Stalin has raised a few eyebrows. A decision from the AIADMK camp may be expected well ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda’s likely visit to the State on March 7 and 10, respectively.
The AIADMK is keen to close the seat-sharing talks on Wednesday as only nine days are left for the start of filing the nomination papers. AIADMK functionaries are, however, confident that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will remain firm on his stand, and not agree to join hands with VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran. The BJP is considering the option of reconciliation to avoid splitting of votes, explained sources.
“Our Chief Minister is sure about not taking the ‘Mannargudi family’ into the party through any means - either a merger or an alliance,” a senior AIADMK functionary explained. In fact, another ruling party functionary explained, “Palaniswami has effectively communicated to them how a reconciliation can become counter-productive.” The loss of a section of the “community votes” can be compensated with recent policy initiatives of the government that benefit the society at large, the functionary said.