After much speculation and back-and-forth negotiations, the PMK has signed an alliance with the ruling AIADMK for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The alliance was sealed on Tuesday at a private hotel in Chennai with PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss, his son and MP Anbumani Ramadoss, senior leader GK Mani and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam present. State ministers including S.Velumani, P Thangamani and D Jayakumar were also present for the talks. With the inking of the deal, the PMK will be part of the rainbow coalition led by the AIADMK and that includes the BJP and Vijayakantâ€™s DMDK.
Speaking to reporters, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam announced that PMK would get 7 seats in the parliamentary polls. In addition to this, the PMK will also be allotted one Rajya Sabha seat. In turn the PMK has pledged support to the ruling party when bye-elections to the 21 seats are held in the state. Both O Panneerselvam and PMK's S Ramadoss expressed confidence that the coalition would be a "winning" one.
The sealing of the alliance also comes hours after BJP National President Amit Shah was forced to cancel his visit to Chennai owing to AIADMKâ€™s negotiations with the PMK. Sources in the ruling party tell TNM that Union Minister Piyush Goyal will, however, be arriving in the city and will be holding talks with AIADMK leaders.
Sources tell TNM that talks are likely to continue into the evening. This will be the second round of talks led by Piyush Goyal, who was in the city on February 14 for discussions on the 'grand alliance'. The temporary hold up, according to sources in the AIADMK, was because of the PMK was in talks with both the ruling party and the opposition DMK.
"The PMK initially wanted 9 seats. But the DMDK is also demanding up to 5 seats. For Puthiya Tamilagam we want to give one seat. As for the BJP, we are looking at giving them 7 seats. Talks are however still going on," says a source in the AIADMK. "The seats PMK is looking at include Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Vellore and Sriperambadur. Right now we need a mega alliance to get a good number of seats in this election," he adds.
The PMK put forward 10 demands before the AIADMK for an alliance. This includes resolving the Cauvery water issue, releasing the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, imposition of prohibition, waiving of farm loans, stopping Mekedatu dam, and waiving NEET exams for Tamil Nadu.
According to reports, Amit Shah was keen on visiting Chennai to finalise the alliance, after successfully doing so in Maharashtra on Monday but stayed away due to possible embarrassment caused by last minute hiccups. The DMK meanwhile is likely to go with its already existing partners including Congress, CPI, CPM, MDMK, VCK and IUML.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the PMK was part of the NDA alliance led by the BJP and included parties such as the DMDK and the MDMK. The PMK managed to bag the lone seat of Dharmapuri with Anbumani Ramadoss emerging the winner. However, Anbumani Ramadoss was reportedly miffed with the BJP after he was not given a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi government.