Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK on Tuesday sealed an electoral alliance with the PMK for the Lok Sabha polls whereby the latter will contest in seven constituencies and for one Rajya Sabha seat. Speaking to reporters here after signing the pact, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam said: "Under the AIADMK-led alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, PMK gets seven Lok Sabha seats. It will also get one Rajya Sabha seat.
"The PMK will support AIADMK in the Assembly bye-elections to be held in 21 constituencies," he added. "This is a mega and strong alliance that will win in the Lok Sabha polls," PMK Founder S. Ramadoss told reporters.
He said the party had submitted several conditions that the AIADMK had to fulfil. Ramadoss said these included declaring Cauvery delta region as protected agriculture zone; conducting caste census; releasing the seven persons convicted in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination; implementing old pension scheme for government employees; closing liquor shops and sand quarries in Tamil Nadu; preventing Karnataka from building a dam across Cauvery at Mekadatu; waiving farm loans and getting the state exemption from the common medical entrance exam or NEET exam.
While the PMK is steadfast on its policy of liquor prohibition, the AIADMK government does not seem to be. Later in a statement, Ramadoss explained the rationale for the tie-up: "PMK and AIADMK have agreed to fight and secure schemes for the welfare of Tamil Nadu in the central government that would be formed post elections.
Though PMK's stand was to have no alliance with AIADMK or DMK since 2011, several changes have occurred in Tamil Nadu since then and the state's rights have been abrogated in different means. The PMK founder said the party should have sufficient number of members in the Lok Sabha to protect the state's rights.
Contesting alone in the 2016 assembly polls, the PMK secured 5.6 per cent vote share though it did not win a single seat. It was this 5.6 per cent vote share that made PMK an attractive alliance partner.
Earlier in the day, Panneerselvam and AIADMK Joint Coordinator and Chief Minister Palaniswami welcomed Ramadoss personally at the portico of the hotel and took him inside. Signs of an AIADMK-PMK deal were in the air as Ramadoss, who used to be very critical of the ruling party, remained silent on the issue of software company Cognizant Technology Solutions bribing Tamil Nadu government officials to get construction permits.
Speaking to IANS on the condition of anonymity, a BJP leader said: "The BJP's alliance with AIADMK is confirmed." The alliance with AIADMK will mostly be finalised on Tuesday as it is an auspicious day, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.
Union Minister and Tamil Nadu in-charge Piyush Goyal has arrived here to hold talks with AIADMK and others. It is said that the AIADMK would contest in 20 Lok Sabha seats and the balance 20 will be for alliance partners. Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha constituencies and Puducherry has one, taking the total to 40.
(With inputs from agencies.)