AIADMK forms committee for holding seat-sharing talks

Making its position formal on having electoral partners for the Lok Sabha polls, the ruling AIADMK on Wednesday announced that a five-member committee comprising senior leaders was formed to hold seat-sharing talks with other parties.

The panel consists of K. P. Munusamy and R..Vaithilingam, former Ministers and now deputy coordinators of the party. P. Thangamani, S. P. Velumani and J.C.D. Prabhakar, all organising secretaries, are the other three members.

It was on Tuesday that Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar spoke about alliance partners. On different occasions, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Chief Minister and co-coordinator, and O. Panneerselvam, Deputy Chief Minister and coordinator of the party, had hinted at the need for an electoral tie-up.

Even though such a committee was in place even when the party under the leadership of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had decided to contest alone in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and in all but seven Assembly constituencies during 2016, the latest development was a pointer to the party’s willingness to have allies now.

“We are conscious of the changed situation. What held good at the time of Amma [Jayalailthaa] no longer exists,” two senior leaders in the ruling party acknowledge.

Two more committees, one for the preparation of election manifesto and another for coordinating election campaign, have been set up.

In separate releases issued by Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam, the AIADMK announced its decisions.

C. Ponnaiyan, Natham R. Viswanathan and S. Semmalai, former Ministers; D Jayakumar and C.Ve. Shanmugam, Ministers, and P. H. Manoj Pandian and A. W. Rabi Bernard, former Members of Parliament would be on the manifesto committee.

M. Thambi Durai, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, and the party propaganda secretary; Dindigul C. Sreenivasan and K.A. Sengottaiyan, Ministers; B. Valarmathi, S. Gokula Indira and Vaigaichelvan, former Ministers, and P. Venugopal, MP, would be on poll campaign committee.

On condition of anonymity, a chronicler of the party history said that the composition of the three committees reveals that “enough care and attention” has been paid with regard to accommodating representatives of the erstwhile two camps, led by Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam.

However, one notable exclusion is V. Maitreyan, MP, and one who represented the Panneerselvam group when the Election Commission in 2017 held deliberations on the issue of freezing the symbol of “two leaves” and allotting it to the “unified party.”

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