Advantage AIADMK: TN’s ruling party emerges winner in first round

CM Palaniswami and Deputy CM Panneerselvam with PMK founder S Ramadoss.

Chennai: During Jayalalithaa’s lifetime, come polls, the AIADMK would be the first off the block in forming alliances. Same would be the case with releasing manifesto, announcing candidates and starting campaign. As things changed after her demise, not many expected that her party would steal a march over its arch-rival, the DMK, even in her absence.

On Tuesday, her successors – Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (AIADMK’s joint coordinator) and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam (party coordinator) – finalised the seat-sharing agreement with the BJP and PMK for the Lok Sabha elections. And, if sources are to be believed, deals with a few more parties will be inked in a day or two.

Now that alliance pacts with key partners are signed, the AIADMK has gained the first-mover advantage, feel political pundits.

Not just that, it has made the PMK and BJP offer support to its candidates in the by-election to be held to 21 Assembly constituencies in the State.

‘(Bringing PMK to the fold is a) Smart move by EPS-OPS (Palaniswami and Panneerselvam). Conceding an extra RS seat to PMK in return for getting their support for the 21 Assembly seats in the by-elections,’ tweeted political analyst Sumanth Raman.

BJP leader Piyush Goyal after the deal with the AIADMK.

According to him, the PMK can play a decisive role in helping AIADMK in at least seven Assembly seats (Harur, Pappireddipatti, Gudiyattam, Sholingur, Ambur, Hosur and Thiruporur) during the by-poll. ‘The first 6 are in the heart of PMK territory,’ he added.

Ravithej Seshaiah, a professor and a political tracker, says, ‘At this point of time, the AIADMK-led front appears to be strong and steady. However, things might change in the days to come, as the DMK is yet to finalise its seat-sharing agreements. But, (there is) no doubt that the AIADMK has emerged winner in the first round by forming a formidable alliance.’

On Tuesday, hours after signing the pact with PMK founder, Dr S Ramadoss, under which his party was allotted seven Lok Sabha seats of the total 40 (39 in Tamilnadu and one in Puducherry) besides a Rajya Sabha seat, the AIADMK finalised the deal with the BJP, allotting five seats for the national party. However, the seats to be contested by the BJP and PMK are yet to be identified.

‘There won’t be any problem in finalising the constituencies. The PMK and BJP have already given their wish-list and we will sit together and take win-win decisions,’ says a senior AIADMK leader who is privy to the developments.

M Bhaskar Sai