TN polls: Filing of nominations open today; AIADMK to contest in 178 constituencies, DMK 174
Chennai, Mar 11: Arch-rivals DMK and AIADMK on Thursday almost sealed their seat-sharing deals with allies for the coming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu on the eve of opening of nominations, with both set to contest in over 170 segments each out of the total 234 at stake.
While the AIADMK is eyeing a record third straight term, the DMK is keen to dethrone its traditional rival and stage a comeback to the ruling saddle after a gap of a decade.
Keen to ensure a majority on their own in the April 6 single phase elections, the AIADMK will fight from 178 constituencies directly and the DMK from 174.
Besides, their smaller allies would contest on the Two Leaves and Rising Sun symbols respectively of the AIADMK and DMK, in effect giving the two Dravidian majors a larger pie of 190 and 187 seats as they face their first assembly elections post the demise of their towering leaders J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi. Filing of nominations will start on Friday and the last day is March 19.
The ruling party, which has declared incumbent K Palaniswami as its chief ministerial candidate, has firmed up seat sharing for 233 seats, allotting 23 and 20 to PMK and BJP, respectively.
The remainder is spread between the AIADMK and its other allies that include former Union Minister GK Vasan-led Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC-Moopanar) and some more smaller outfits.
The MK Stalin-led DMK and Congress reached an agreement on the latter's 25 constituencies, out of which the national party will be locked a direct fight with the BJP in five. The principal opposition party also firmed up constituency arrangements with others including the MDMK, VCK CPI and CPI (M), when reports last came. MDMK leader Vaiko also named his party''s candidates for the six seats. However, the DMK is yet to release its list of nominees.
The 25 constituencies allotted to Congress included five segments won by it. The Congress will take on BJP in Colachel and Vilavankode, both in Kanyakumari, besides Karaikudi and Udhagamandalam--all held by it and Coimbatore South.
Tenkasi, Nanguneri (won by the party in 2016 but lost to AIADMK in 2019 bypoll), Srivillliputhur and Velachery in Chennai are the other seats allotted to it by the DMK. VCK will contest from Kattumannarkoil, Arakkonam, Cheyyur, Vanur-- all reserved constituencies and Nagapattinam and Tiruporur, party founder leader and Lok Sabha member Thol. Thirumavalavan told reporters.
AIADMK's ally TMC will contest six seats, including Thiru Vi Ka Nagar and Patukkotai, on the Two Leaves symbol, party chief Vasan said.
TTV Dhinakaran's Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam also released its second list of candidates, with the party chief taking on ruling AIADMK Minister and local strongman Kadambur Raju in Kovipatti.
AMMK also struck a poll pact with Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and allotted it six seats including Ambur and Palayamkottai to its partner. It has earlier earmarked three seats for AIMIM headed by Asaduddin Owaisi.