The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday announced the formation of a seven-party rainbow alliance for the April 24 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, in its first-ever such electoral venture in the state where the turf has been largely dominated by Dravida Munetra Kazhagam and All India Anna Dravida Munetra Kazhagam.
The announcement about the sealing of the alliance was made by BJP President Rajnath Singh who described it as a 'historic' moment for Tamil Nadu and also for the country as seven parties had come into the National Democratic Alliance-fold.
Flanked by alliance partners, Singh told a press conference that out of the 39 seats, actor-politician Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam will fight for 14 seats while the Pattali Makkal Katchi and BJP will field candidates in eight constituencies each.
Vaiko's Marumalarchi Dravida Munetra Kazhagam has been allotted seven seats while the Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi and the Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi have been given one constituency each.
Local BJP leaders were all smiles as the month-long efforts and protracted negotiations in the wake of some of the allies insisting on particular seats fructified as the party seeks to return a sizeable number of members of Parliament from the state towards achieving formation of a Narendra Modi-led NDA government.
Replicating the strategy of the two major Dravidian parties which have been taking up the emotive fishermen and Sri Lankan Tamils issue as a plank, Singh promised these were also on the "top priority" of his party. "Their (fishermen) release will be our topmost priority and also protecting their livelihood," he said. Accusing the UPA of being responsible for the travails faced by Sri Lankan Tamils, he said "under the United Progressive Alliance, India was not able to impress Sri Lanka to resolve Tamils issue. The NDA will work to impress Sri Lanka as it is also in our security interest."
Singh's announcement of seat-sharing was made in the presence of actor turned politician Vijayakant, Anbumani Ramadoss (PMK), Vaiko, IJK's Pariventhar and KMDK's Easwaran.
Soon after his arrival, Singh was closeted with leaders of allies for nearly four hours, giving final touches to the alliance and also ironing out differences among the partners over certain seats. He managed to convince the PMK to give up the claim on Salem seat and accommodate the request by the DMDK.
The other national party Congress, which used to ride piggy back on the DMK or the AIADMK, has been left to face the polls on its own this time with both shunning it. Launching a tirade against the Congress-led UPA, Singh charged it with leaving the country's economy in a 'mess' and slammed it over unemployment, inflation and price-rise.
He also attacked the UPA for the spate of scams allegedly involving the ruling coalition and said people were no more prepared to live with the scandals.
"The entire country is yearning for a decisive change. The people are determined to unseat the UPA. In South, including in Tamil Nadu, new alliances are emerging. People want to see an NDA government with Modi as prime minister," he said.