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TN Assembly Polls: AIADMK Set to Offer DMDK a Maximum of 15 Seats 

Talks are in full swing after senior leaders in the ruling party expressed concern.

Published
Politics
2 min read
EPS Vijayakanth.
i

Seat sharing talks are in full swing within the AIADMK alliance in Tamil Nadu and after initial friction with the DMDK, sources in the ruling party tell TNM that as many as 15 seats could be allotted to the party, led by actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth.

While it initially looked like the DMDK could possibly be left out of the AIADMK alliance, talks with them intensified after senior leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, expressed concern, according to sources in the party.

The alliance began on a sour note with DMDK treasurer Premalatha Vijayakanth questioning why no discussions were being held with her party, even while the PMK was being given several appointments by the ruling party.

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According to reports, when talks did begin last week, DMDK demanded as many as 20 seats, to which the AIADMK did not agree. Sources in AIADMK have now said that 15 will be the upper limit offered to DMDK but that the party would look to keep the number of seats even lower.

"It looked like we would cut them off from the alliance but some senior party leaders have expressed concern regarding this. With the Thevar vote bank likely to deteriorate due to VK Sasikala's return to politics, they think the DMDK's influence in south Tamil Nadu will be of help," says a source in the party.

“They have support in districts like Madurai and Tirunelveli that will translate into votes in these constituencies,” he adds.

Speaking to TNM, political analyst and senior journalist Priyan points out that the DMDK has three advantages as an ally.

"The first is that they have no negative votes. The PMK for instance, due to its very obvious caste votebank, will not be able to get votes from the Dalit community or other caste groups. Similarly for the AIADMK in the Kongu region, while it can gather Gounder votes, they may lose out on other castes who feel that the party is partial to the majority community," he explains. "In other words, the DMDK has caste neutrality," he adds.

The second advantage, he explains, is Premalatha's oratory skills. In 2014, when in alliance with the BJP, the DMDK leader had earned the praise of even Prime Minister Narendra Modi for her campaign.

"She is an effective campaigner and speaker. Her efforts will have impact," says Priyan.

“The third advantage is that while DMDK may not enjoy tremendous support in the state, they command at least 1,000-1,500 votes in every constituency and this could be the difference that will determine victory or defeat for a party,” he adds.

The AIADMK is looking to wrap up seat sharing talks with its allies by Wednesday night and begin candidate interviews by Thursday.

(This story was first published on The News Minute and has been republished here with permission.)

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