The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu looked set for a split on Sunday as the PMK and the BJP could not agree on seat sharing.
The development came a day after the BJP sewed up an alliance with the DMDK.
Speaking at a campaign meet in Dharmapuri, PMK founder S. Ramadoss hinted that his outfit may be parting ways with the NDA. “A lion will not bargain with foxes,” he remarked, after introducing his son Anbumani Ramadoss as the candidate for the constituency. Highly-placed sources told The Hindu that the bone of contention was the Salem constituency, which the PMK said was non-negotiable. The seat was allotted to the DMDK on Saturday, where it was set to field youth wing secretary L.K. Sudheesh. However, speaking at a campaign meeting in Salem, party leader Vijayakant said a formal announcement on the candidate will be made in the next two days.
A senior leader said Dr. Ramadoss was “upset” with the way the BJP had dealt with the seat-sharing negotiations. The PMK was neither given the number of seats it demanded nor the constituencies it preferred. Also, the BJP inked the deal with the DMDK on Saturday without informing the PMK.
Apart from Salem, the PMK wanted Cuddalore, Villupuram and Tirvannamalai, which were all allotted to the DMDK. At the Dharmapuri meeting, Dr. Ramadoss advised R. Arul, the PMK candidate named for Salem, to go back to constituency and continue campaigning. He also announced candidates for two other seats on the DMDK list — Kallakurichi and Tiruvannamalai. A senior BJP leader confirmed that talks with the PMK on Sunday made no progress. “We have told them to either take what has been offered on Saturday or we will part ways happily.” In Puducherry, the PMK has made it clear that it will go it alone. The BJP had given the seat to the All India NR Congress.