The perception of a Narendra Modi-wave, coupled with circumstances in opposing fronts, has helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) end its political isolation in Tamil Nadu after a gap of 10 years.
On Thursday, DMDK leader Vijayakant broke his silence by declaring that his party was involved in formal talks for an alliance with the BJP. The PMK also constituted a team headed by G.K. Mani to take forward the parleys. Sources in the BJP said the last four days since Vijayakant’s returned from Singapore turned out to be crucial.
As the State BJP leaders were not making headways in the talks, an emissary from the central leadership was sent to Tamil Nadu on Monday to take control.
The DMDK, which demanded 18 seats to begin with, was offered 12 seats last week. Vijayakant dismissed it and asserted that his party cannot settle for anything less than 14 seats. “A team from State BJP met Rajnath Singh on Thursday and received clearance to confirm the equation,” a senior BJP leader confirmed.
In the process, the PMK and the MDMK had to be persuaded to climb down from their demands. Sources said the PMK had to relinquish four of the ten seats for which it had already announced candidates for the sake of the alliance. As things stand on Thursday, the DMDK would contest in 14 seats, PMK and BJP each in eight and the MDMK in seven. The remaining would go to smaller outfits such as the IJK.
MDMK leader Vaiko, however, was not too happy to settle for a number less than what was given to the PMK. “Vaiko also wants eight. We are trying to accommodate,” said the BJP leader.
Sources said the reason for a delay in Vijayakanth making a formal alliance was an attempt by the Congress to stitch a pact including the DMK and DMDK. As this was completely ruled out on Wednesday night, BJP’s way was cleared.
Two people were instrumental in clinching the four-party alliance for the BJP- PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, who convinced his father to accept a relationship with DMDK, and Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam founder Tamilaruvi Manian, who first floated the idea of such an alliance and the brought the leaders together. On the BJP side, Tamilisai Soundarrajan facilitated early talks through her contacts in the DMDK.
“Since 2004, other major parties isolated us in Tamil Nadu politics. We hope 2014 would make us indispensable,” said the senior BJP leader.