“On March 13, BJP election committee meets in New Delhi to finalise contestants”

Internal divisions in the BJP and the PMK seem to be delaying the finalisation of seats.

While a section in the BJP expressed its disappointment at the “short-term gains” being perused by its State unit, PMK founder S. Ramadoss and party MLA Kaduvetti J. Guru are said to be irked by the importance being accorded to the DMDK in the talks.

A highly placed source in the BJP told The Hindu that several senior leaders, who were kept away from alliance negotiations, were unhappy with the manner in which seats had been shared with allies.

According to a senior leader, the PMK and the DMDK were adamant in not giving up on constituencies in the northern region, considered their stronghold.

The BJP State leadership also seemed to have conceded to these demands. Thus, while the two parties were taking advantage of the perceived Narendra Modi wave by aligning with the BJP, there was no benefit in return for the national party as it was being kept away from their stronghold.

“Some individuals were more concerned about their own winning chances. By not pressing for a considerable number of seats in the northern districts, the alliance would not help expand our presence in the State. We would continue to be a party of the South,” said the leader on condition of anonymity. This issue had also been taken up with the central leadership.

On the other hand, PMK sources said the party leadership was sour over too much importance being accorded to the DMDK by BJP leaders.

“When we wanted BJP leadership to complete the seat-sharing as early as possible, they delayed it in the guise of holding talks with DMDK. We have made it clear that it was unacceptable to place one alliance partner above the others,” said a senior leader. Even Dr. Ramadoss was extremely upset with the way his party was being treated by the BJP State unit.

“But for Anbumani Ramadoss, the talks between the two parties would have reached a point of no return,” the functionary noted and added that the father and the son had a long discussion on the alliance situation on Sunday at Thailapuram.

The mood was similar in the MDMK camp where general secretary Vaiko waned to be treated on equal footing with the PMK. The party would not settle for anything below seven seats though it continued to push the BJP to allot eight constituencies.

However, a source close to BJP State president Pon Radhakrishnan said numbers were still a problem as the PMK wanted ten seats. “Dr. Ramadoss was not willing to settle for anything less,” said the source.

“Talks have to be finished by March 12 as Rajnath Singh is expected to visit Tamil Nadu. On March 13, BJP election committee is meeting in New Delhi to finalise the list of contestants,” said the leader.

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