5:27 pm - Thursday November 19, 2015

Caught between two allies, BJP in trouble in Tamil Nadu

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New Delhi – The BJP, caught between two regional allies in Tamil Nadu, appears to be facing a split in its coalition in the state that sends 39 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

After working out a seat-sharing pact with actor-politician Vijayakanth and his DMDK party for next month’s general election, the BJP is confronting trouble from another key ally, PMK, which reportedly wanted to contest from some constituencies promised to the DMDK.

But sources say the BJP has firmly refused to back down, calculating more gains from the DMDK than the PMK.

The BJP has assigned 14 parliamentary seats to Vijayakanth, popularly known as ‘Captain.’

Vijayakanth’s party drew a blank in the 2009 parliamentary election but won 29 of 234 seats in the 2011 state polls, placing second after Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK party and establishing 10 per cent of the vote share across the state.

The PMK also lost all the seats it contested in the previous general election. But in the assembly polls, the party won only four seats, mainly in the northern pockets of Tamil Nadu.

PMK founder S Ramadoss hinted at walking away from the BJP-led coalition in a campaign meeting on Sunday, where he was quoted as saying, “A lion will not bargain with foxes.”

The party is reportedly planning to go ahead and contest from Salem and two other constituencies promised to the DMDK.

Vijayakanth appeared confident of getting his way in the seat-sharing arithmetic as he said on Monday, “The alliance in Tamil Nadu is already complete for the NDA (the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) and Narendra Modi will soon announce names and seats.”

The BJP didn’t win a single seat in Tamil Nadu in the previous election. Opinion polls predict that the party will win this general election but fall short of a majority, the reason why it is banking on regional allies to shore up its numbers. Its coalition in Tamil Nadu includes the DMDK, MDMK, PMK and two other small parties.

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