Tamil Nadu elections: BJP demands 24 seats in AIADMK alliance

Tamil Nadu elections: BJP demands 24 seats in AIADMK alliance
The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu is set to finish its seat sharing negotiations with the BJP on Wednesday. Speaking to TNM, sources in the party say that the BJP has driven a hard bargain, refusing to accept no less than 24 seats to contest from for the upcoming Assembly elections. Seat sharing discussions began formally on Sunday, with Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam leading the talks along with MP Raveendranath. They initially held talks directly with Home Minister Amit Shah. Following this, BJP leaders, including National General Secretary and Tamil Nadu in-charge CT Ravi, Union Minister of State Kishan Reddy, Minister of State VK Singh, and Tamil Nadu BJP chief L Murugan took part in the discussions. A delegation from the AIADMK, including ministers P Thangamani, SP Velumani, deputy coordinators KP Munusamy and R Vaithilingam also had a meeting with the BJP leaders on Tuesday. Sources had initially told TNM that the BJP had arrived for the discussion with a list of 60 constituencies that they had a winning chance in and demanded at least 30 of these seats to contest from. “We were initially looking to seal the deal with just 15 seats for the BJP. But they were unwilling to settle for less than 30. We then increased the number to 20, then 22 and finally we have settled at 24 currently,” says a source in the AIADMK. “They were keen to be the second biggest party in the alliance, so we had to give them at least one more seat than the PMK,” he adds. While a delegation of TN BJP leaders is talking to the AIADMK, sources say that it is BJP National General Secretary BL Santosh who is keeping the demands from the party strong. Speaking to TNM, a source in the BJP shares that the seats the party can make an impact in are largely in western Tamil Nadu, which happens to be the AIADMK’s stronghold. “Our focus is therefore on the quality of seats that we get. The AIADMK is not as strong in northern Tamil Nadu, so they were able to give the PMK seats there,” says a TN BJP leader. “The seat sharing talks may extend by another two days as numbers are still being discussed,” he adds. Amongst the constituencies demanded by the BJP are Mylapore, Harbour and Triplicane in Chennai. BJP has further asked for constituencies in Coimbatore and Pollachi as well. The party has also demanded the Lok Sabha seat in Kanyakumari, which has fallen empty following the death of MP Vasanthakumar. The AIADMK meanwhile is open to giving the BJP some of the constituencies it is demanding, as long as they can limit the number of seats being given.    

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