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Jaya & Left in seat deadlock

Chennai, March 5: The buzz that Jayalalithaa might be readying to dump the Left parties has started doing the rounds after talks between the AIADMK and the CPM/CPI hit a wall over seat-sharing.

Jayalalithaa has been adamant that the Left parties will be given only one seat each, against their demand of two seats each. This has given rise to doubts over the continuance of the CPM and the CPI in the AIADMK front.

“There has been no progress in talks with the AIADMK which have been going on for 15 days. We will meet state CPI leaders tomorrow and decide what to do,” the Tamil Nadu CPM secretary, G. Ramakrishnan, said.

Over the past week, Jayalalithaa has kept the Left parties on tenterhooks. Even before seat-sharing could be finalised, she announced candidates for all 39 Lok Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu, with the rider that AIADMK candidates would withdraw from seats allotted to the minor allies.

Then, in her opening campaign speech on Monday, Jayalalithaa sought votes for the AIADMK and its allies. But on Tuesday, she sought votes only for AIADMK candidates. This unnerved the CPM and CPI, as the hint was Jayalalithaa was getting set to dump them.

There were unconfirmed reports that AIADMK treasurer O. Panneerselvam visited the CPM and CPI offices on Tuesday night to inform leaders that “we will part as friends”. Sources said Prakash Karat’s attempts to contact Jayalalithaa failed.

“We have briefed our national leaders and are hoping they would talk directly to Jayalalithaa,” said a CPM leader.

Left leaders feel the AIADMK and BJP may have agreed on a post-poll pact. So, it has decided to fight all 39 seats instead of giving four to allies who will never back BJP.