Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said that he was ready for a debate with Leader of Opposition and DMK chief MK Stalin, ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2021 to Consulting Editor Priyamvatha P, EPS referred to Stalin and said, "Arrange a stage. I'll hold a mic, and you hold a mic. Without a single piece of paper, talk on the stage. You can accuse me of whatever you want, and we will give you a response. We will also say what happened during your rule and you can reply to those claims. I'm asking through this event, if you're ready for this."
Arch-rivals DMK and AIADMK on Thursday almost sealed their seat-sharing deals with allies for the upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu on the eve of opening of nominations, with both set to contest in over 170 segments each out of the total 234 at stake.
While the AIADMK is eyeing a record third straight term, the DMK is keen to dethrone its traditional rival and stage a comeback after a gap of a decade. Keen to ensure a majority on their own in the April 6 single phase elections, the AIADMK will fight from 178 constituencies directly and the DMK from 173.
Besides this, their smaller allies would contest on the Two Leaves and Rising Sun symbols respectively, in effect giving the two Dravidian majors a larger pie of 190 (AIADMK) and 187 (DMK) seats as they face their first Assembly elections post the demise of their towering leaders J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi.
Filing of nominations will start on Friday and the last day is March 19. The ruling party, which has declared incumbent EPS as its Chief Ministerial face, has firmed up seat sharing for 233 seats, allotting 23 and 20 to PMK and BJP, respectively. The remainder is spread between the AIADMK and its other allies.
The MK Stalin-led DMK and Congress reached an agreement on the latter's 25 constituencies, out of which the national party will be locked in a direct fight with the BJP in five. DMK also firmed up constituency arrangements with others including the MDMK, VCK, CPI and CPI(M).
The Congress will take on BJP in Colachel and Vilavancode, both in Kanyakumari, besides Karaikudi and Udhagamandalam, all held by it, and Coimbatore South.
TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam also released its second list of candidates, with the party chief taking on ruling AIADMK minister and local strongman Kadambur Raju in Kovilpatti. The AMMK also struck a poll pact with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and allotted it six seats including Ambur and Palayamkottai. It had earlier earmarked three seats for AIMIM headed by Asaduddin Owaisi.
With inputs from PTI