DMK-PMK in pact for Tamil Nadu elections (Lead)

February 18th, 2011 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Chennai Feb 18 (IANS) Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK and the PMK Friday signed an agreement to jointly fight the coming assembly elections, with the PMK allotted 31 seats, the same number it got from DMK in 2006.The pact was signed at the residence of DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. The PMK will also contest one Rajya Sabha seat.

Karunanidhi told reporters later: “I met (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. It was then decided that DMK and Congress would fight the elections together. In continuation, today (Friday) PMK has been admitted into the DMK-led front.”

Expressing his happiness, PMK founder leader S. Ramadoss said: “We have been given 31 (assembly) seats and a Rajya Sabha seat. The DMK-led alliance will record a resounding victory.”

The DMK-led alliance also includes the Congress and a small party, VCK.

Ramadoss, accompanied by party president G.K. Mani and others, called on Karunanidhi.

Is the PMK happy that the number of seats it has got is the same as in 2006? Mani told IANS: “There has to be give and take while entering into an electoral alliance.”

Asked if the party would contest from the same set of constituencies it fought in 2006, he said: “We have not decided on the constituencies. That will be decided latter.”

Five years ago, the PMK won 18 seats.

The PMK is a strong force in northern Tamil Nadu with its concentration of the Vanniyar community to which the party’s leaders and most members belong.

“Our stronghold is northern Tamil Nadu. We also have a good presence across the state,” Mani added.

The PMK says it is a force to reckon with in at least 100 constituencies.

Traditionally, the northern belt in the state has voted against the Congress. Political parties opposed to the Congress have been cashing in on the trend.

With PMK and VCK joining hands with DMK, the advantage is clearly with the DMK-led front unless there is a strong anti-incumbency wave, political observers said.

The AIADMK led by former chief minister J. Jayalalitha now has only the MDMK and the Communist parties as allies. But Vijaykant’s DMDK is mulling a tie up with AIADMK.

The Tamil Nadu assembly has 99 DMK members, 57 from AIADMK, 34 from Congress and 18 from PMK. The house also has 15 Communist legislators and three members from the MDMK.

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