BJP trying to accommodate everyone

The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) has made it clear to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that it was not ready to part with any of the five constituencies that it specified as “non-negotiable” when the seat-sharing talks between them began last month.

The BJP had been trying to form a third front for the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu with the MDMK, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK).

The MDMK, led by its general secretary Vaiko, was the first to officially announce a pact with the BJP.

He also met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai when the latter visited the city for a public meeting earlier this month.

According to a senior BJP leader, the MDMK began seat-sharing negotiations with a demand of 12 seats. After several rounds of parleys between Mr. Vaiko and senior BJP leaders Pon Radhakrishnan, Tamilisai Soundarrajan and L Ganesan, the MDMK agreed to a tally of nine seats.

But, a senior MDMK leader told The Hindu that the party had placed a rider for reducing its demand.

“In the list of preferred constituencies that the MDMK provided the BJP, it was made clear five of those were non-negotiable,” said the source.

These constituencies are Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi, Erode, Kanchipuram and Pollachi.

The other four seats that MDMK had shown preference for included Theni, Tenkasi, Central Chennai and Madurai.

“While the PMK and the DMDK are pulling in different directions with their stress on same seats, the fact is that the MDMK too is sticking to its demand. We are trying our best to draw an acceptable equation to accommodate everyone,” said the BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

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