The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu is shocked by the reluctance of its 2019 ally, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), to join its alliance for the state assembly elections due later this year.
The PMK’s demands include a government announcement, accepting the PMK demand of 20 per cent sub-quota for Vanniyar community within the quota reserved for backward classes in education and employment sectors.
Two emissaries – Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani and Electricity Minister P. Thangamani – of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K, Palaniswami met PMK founder Dr. S Ramadoss at the latter’s Thailapuram residence in Villupuram district on January 11 evening, and tried to persuade him to join the AIADMK-led front and endorse Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.
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However, Dr. Ramadoss categorically refused to entertain any discussion about the AIADMK’s proposal on alliance, and said he did not discuss the elections or the alliance question. In a brief statement later in the evening, Ramadoss said he had informed the two ministers that there was no question of any discussion on the alliance question till the PMK’s demand of 20 per cent quota for Vanniyars was accepted and announced by the state government.
AIADMK sources said that when feelers were sent to Ramadoss last month, the PMK had reportedly insisted on the deputy chief minister’s portfolio for his son, Anbumani Ramadoss, PMK youth wing president and former Union minister, besides some more cabinet berths among other demands of the party. However, the AIADMK had turned down the demand relating to power-share.
An official announcement was made at the AIADMK headquarters a few days ago by senior AIADMK leader K P Munuswamy in the presence of Chief Minister Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK co-ordinator O Panneerselvam that the next government would be formed by the AIADMK alone, ruling out a coalition government. Palaniswami has also stated that the ‘Kazhagam’ (AIADMK) government would continue.
The PMK has also sought to go to people with the reservation demand, and has threatened a prolonged agitation with the direct participation of founder Ramadoss on this issue. The PMK founder had a few days ago fixed the deadline on the Pongal day (January 14) for the Vanniyar sub-quota, stating that it would launch an agitation if the deadline was not met.
It is in this context that the two AIADMK ministers met Dr Ramadoss in a bid to convince the PMK leadership on the alliance question. The AIADMK is anxious that the PMK should not go ahead with the agitation which can queer the pitch for the AIADMK.
The ministers have promised to get back to the PMK after the Pongal holidays. The meeting ended on the note that discussions would continue. However, the AIADMK is understood to have explained to PMK that an announcement of a 20 per cent sub-quota for the Vanniyar community would provoke a backlash from other BC communities, which could affect the prospects of the AIADMK and its allies in the assembly polls.
The PMK, however, has maintained that a sub-quota for Vanniyars was a must, and a prerequisite for talks on the alliance issue.
All that the AIADMK has gained is that the PMK cannot launch the agitation before the Pongal festival, and it gets a few days additional time to sort out the reservation issue.
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