Monday, 30th October 2017

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All vs Modi (plus AIADMK & others)

The BJP, which has a marginal presence in Tamil Nadu, will contest 5 of 39 Lok Sabha seats in the southern state

  • Published 20.02.19, 3:21 AM
  • Updated 20.02.19, 9:14 AM
  • 2 mins read
Piyush Goyal addresses the media in Chennai on Tuesday after the alliance was sealed. (PTI)

The BJP on Tuesday clinched an electoral pact with Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK, a day after party chief Amit Shah had swallowed the Shiv Sena’s repeated barbs to finalise a seat-share deal with the belligerent Maharashtra ally.

The twin tie-ups bared the “hollowness” of the BJP’s claim that the general election was a “Narendra Modi-versus-all” battle and underlined that the party was banking heavily on allies to return to power.

Party leaders conceded off the record that allies were pivotal to the BJP’s plans and that, apart from formal tie-ups, it was also banking on regional outfits like the TRS in Telangana, the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh and the BJD in Odisha in case the polls threw up a fractured verdict.

“I am extremely delighted that today AIADMK and BJP have concluded very fruitful discussions and we have agreed to jointly contest the parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu & Puducherry as well as by-elections to 21 assembly seats,” railway minister Piyush Goyal, the BJP’s election in charge for Tamil Nadu, tweeted.

The BJP, which has marginal presence in Tamil Nadu, will contest five of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the southern state. The pact was finalised after leaders of the two parties held discussions that also involved Tamil Nadu chief minister K. Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam. “I am happy to announce that the BJP has been allotted five Lok Sabha seats under the poll pact,” PTI quoted Panneerselvam as saying.

Shah was scheduled to fly to Chennai on Tuesday to announce the deal but, with the final contours still to be worked out with smaller parties, deferred his visit, party leaders said.

Before the announcement of the deal with the BJP, the AIADMK had sealed a pact with the S. Ramadoss-led PMK, allotting seven Lok Sabha seats for the party. More regional parties are set to join the alliance, setting the stage for a battle between the DMK and the Congress on one side and the AIADMK, BJP and their allies on the other.

Shah had on Monday reached a seat-share deal with the Sena in Maharashtra, ignoring the ally’s vicious attack on the BJP and the Modi government. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had gone to the extent of even using Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s words “chowkidar chor hai” (the custodian is a thief) to target Modi.

According to Monday’s deal, the BJP would contest 25 of Maharashtra’s 48 seats and the Sena the rest. The allies also sealed an equal-seat-share pact for the Assembly elections later this year.

BJP leaders in Delhi claimed the party’s victory in the seat-share deal, saying it had not let the Sena regain its former status of big brother in the state. But some leaders said in private they had “swallowed the insult” for the larger political good and that the Congress-NCP alliance in the state had forced the party to go with the Sena.

“That we agreed on a deal with the Sena after its vicious attacks and insults over the past four years shows we need allies to win this election,” a BJP leader said.

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