The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the BJP formalized their “mega alliance” for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections on Tuesday. The national party will be contesting from 5 seats in the state while the PMK will be contesting from 7.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who had arrived in Chennai on Tuesday afternoon, announced the alliance in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, BJP state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan and Union Minister of State Pon Radhakrishnan. Speaking to reporters, Piyush Goyal said, “All parties in alliance in Tamil Nadu will work together to strengthen the National Democratic Alliance and our confidence is all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be won by NDA in the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
The BJP, PMK and the AIADMK will also contest together in the by-elections in 21 constituencies in Tamil Nadu.
Paying tribute to the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Piyush Goyal said, “We are starting our campaign with full confidence and will sweep the state of Tamil Nadu as a mark of respect to honour Jayalalithaa.” He also recalled his last interaction with her, stating, “I fondly remember my last interaction with her in July 2016 when I called on her when we discussed power sector reforms. She was loving, caring. We had a fruitful discussion. They have come alive with my good friends – Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. We are working to continue the legacy that honourable Amma did for Tamil Nadu.”
When asked about seat-sharing talks with prospective ally Vijayakant’s DMDK, Piyush Goyal said, “All in due course – you will keep hearing good news.”
Following the announcement, Piyush Goyal headed to DMDK chief Vijayakant's residence in Chennai, where he held a meeting with him and party leader LK Sudeesh. However, it appears the DMDK is not on board the coalition as yet with the Union Minister telling reporters, "Every meeting need not be about alliance. We wished Vijayakant good health and long life and conveyed our leader's best wishes to him."
Sources privy to the meeitng between AIADMK and BJP had told TNM that potential ally DMDK would be offered only three seats, while Puthiya Tamilagam would get one seat and GK Vasan's the Tamil Manila Congress would also get one LS seat.
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK sealed an alliance pact with the PMK. The PMK will contest from seven Lok Sabha seats. The Ramadoss-led party will also be allotted one Rajya Sabha seat.
BJP chief Amit Shah, who was scheduled to arrive in Chennai on Tuesday morning, cancelled his plan as talks with the PMK were yet to be finalised.