Congress lost an ally in the potentially key southern Tamil Nadu state on Thursday, only weeks ahead a general election in April and May, local television said.
The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party said it would join the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), which has opposed India’s ruling Congress party.
Click here to watch video
Tamil Nadu was a key swing state in the last election in 2004, helping the Congress-led coalition to victory.
The main national vote battle is between a coalition led by Congress, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an alliance led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A “Third Front” of communist and regional parties is challenging them.
A meeting between the PMK and the AIADMK was going on in Tamil Nadu and television said party members voted in favour of an alliance in the state.
If confirmed by officials, it would be a blow for Congress, which has also struggled to cement alliances in the populous states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Independents fared poorly in 2004 Lok Sabha polls
The last Lok Sabha elections did not augur well for independent candidates as 99.8% of their total of 2,385 lost the contest.
According to an Election Commission data, a total of 2,385 candidates were in fray for the Lok Sabha in 2004, but only five of them could win people’s trust.
The five lucky candidates declared winners were Harish Nagpal from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, Mani Charenamei who contested from Outer Manipur, Sebastian Paul from Ernakulam in Kerala, Thupstan Chhewang from Ladakh seat in Jammu and Kashmir, and Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary from Kokrajhar constituency in Assam.
The highest winning margin was achieved by Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary who had won the Kokrajhar seat by a margin of 4,84,129 votes.
Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of independents candidates at 481 but only one could secure a seat.
Following Uttar Pradesh were Tamil Nadu, where 391 candidates were in fray for 39 seats and Bihar where 200 independents were fighting for 40 seats. None of the independent candidates from Tamil Nadu and Bihar could win during the 2004 general polls.
District magistrate acted in arbitrary manner: Mulayam
Faced with a complaint of having threatened an Uttar Pradesh woman poll officer, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday alleged that the Mainpuri District Magistrate Ministhy S had exceeded her jurisdiction and acted in an arbitrary manner.
“The district magistrate had been going about stating that she would recommend a re-poll in all the polling booths recording 70% or more polling in Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency in the coming elections,” Yadav alleged and asked how can a district magistrate declare polling as invalid if 90% voters exercise their franchise.
“How can a district magistrate act in such an arbitrary manner? I will approach the Election Commission on this issue,” the Samajwadi Party supremo said.
Taking note of Mulayam’s controversial remarks against the district magistrate at a meeting in Mainpuri, the Uttar Pradesh electoral officer has forwarded a report along with the CD containing the footage to the Election Commission.
Yadav had warned that he would register a complaint with the EC against the official whom he accused of losing her sense of proportion and not being able to differentiate between a criminal and a common man. An angry Yadav had also suggested that she should get her “head checked” and asked her to mend ways within a week.