After several rounds of protracted negotiations, the actor-turned politician Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) managed to forge an alliance with the AIADMK. The DMDK has been allotted four out of 39 seats for the Lok Sabha elections.
An agreement was signed between the top leadership of the two parties in Chennai in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam and Vijayakanth and DMDK Treasurer and his wife Premalatha.
Talking to reporters, Panneerselvam, the coordinator of the rulling party, said it was a committed alliance.
Premalatha pledged her party's support to the AIADMK in the bypolls to 18 assembly seats and local body elections, expected in May.
AIADMK has already finalised seat sharing with BJP and PMK and a few smaller outfits for the Lok Sabha elections.
It has alloted seven seats to PMK, five to the BJP in the state and the lone Puducherry seat to AINRC.
The development came on a day when the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, which will be held across seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.
By-elections to 18 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu would be held on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls.
Bypolls would be held in the 18 constituencies of Poonamallee, Perambur, Tiruporur, Sholinghur, Gudiyatham, Ambur, Hosur, Pappireddipapatti, Harur, Nilakkottai, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Manamadurai, Andipatti, Periyakulam, Sattur, Paramakudi and Vilathikulam.
Of the 18 seats, sixteen had fallen vacant following the disqualification of ruling AIADMK MLAs loyal to TTV Dhinakaran.
The by-poll to Tiruvarur seat has been necessitated by the death of sitting member and late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi while the Hosur seat fell vacant following the disqualification of Minister K Balakrishna Reddy after his conviction by a court in over a decades-old criminal case.
The by-polls are considered crucial as it would have a bearing on the stability of the AIADMK government which needs to win a sizeable number of them to retain its majority in the 234-member House.
AIADMK presently has 114 members while the DMK (88) and its allies together have 97 members in the assembly with a vacancy of 21 seats, 18 of which fell vacant following disqualification of rebel ruling party MLAs.