MDMK not to contest in TN Assembly polls

Chennai: Upset over AIADMK`s "adamant attitude and ill-treatment", MDMK on Sunday quit the electoral battle for the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls even as the AIADMK`s new found ally DMDK is negotiating hard with its senior partner on identification of 41 seats allotted to it.

Last minute efforts by AIADMK late last night to retain its five-year-old ally MDMK in the rainbow alliance did not succeed, with MDMK chief Vaiko declaring that his party would accept nothing less than 21 seats against AIADMK`s offer of 13.

The MDMK top leadership went into a huddle for over four hours after midnight last night and decided to keep off the Assembly polls as it did not want to "sell" their self-respect "for the sake of a few seats".

In a strongly worded resolution, the party said AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa had not given up her "arrogant and unilateral decision taking stands."

It said MDMK, in the past, had listened to AIADMK but when its self-respect was hurt, it decided against contesting the polls.

The resolution said AIADMK had created conditions for the party to leave the alliance.

Undeterred by these developments, AIADMK leadership went ahead with negotiations with actor Vijayakant`s DMDK.

After five hour talks with AIADMK leaders, senior DMDK leader Panruti S Ramachandran told reporters that the talks had reached a final stage and an accord might be signed either today or tomorrow.

Back channel efforts were being made to prevail upon MDMK to reconsider its decision. Leaders of the Left parties are understood to have talked to Vaiko, who had repeatedly told them that the scope for reconsideration was very little.

Meanwhile, in an apparent effort to reach out to her estranged ally, Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Vaiko that she was "saddened" by his decision to pull out and said her respect and affection for him will continue.

In her letter, Jayalalithaa described Vaiko as a "seasoned politician, aware of the political situation".

She said AIADMK`s inability to allot 21 seats as demanded by MDMK was conveyed to it by the party`s election panel comprising O Panneerselvam and KA Sengottaiyan.

While acknowledging that it was MDMK`s right to take a stand on an issue (regarding boycott of elections), she assured "sister`s love and respect" for Vaiko.