With Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) leader Vijayakant expected to return to Chennai from Singapore on Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are in a tight race to pull the party into their alliance.

Seat sharing

In hectic deliberations last week, the BJP worked out a final seat-sharing formula that would be presented to Vijayakant either on Monday or Tuesday to finalise the alliance.

“We had several rounds of talks with DMDK leaders over the last 10 days. After taking into account the demands of all our potential allies, we have worked out a formula which we are hoping would be acceptable to its leader Mr.Vijayakant. You can expect an announcement in the next two days,” said a senior Tamil Nadu BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

Sources said the DMDK had demanded 15 seats in the last round of talks. The deadlock in the alliance continued as the other potential ally, Pattali Makkal Katchi, was unwilling to accept anything less than 10 seats, while they were offered eight.

Channels opened

Meanwhile, a highly placed source in the Congress said its senior leader Ahmed Patel had opened channels with Mr. Vijayakant before he left to Singapore.

“Two of our State functionaries met DMDK leader L.K Sudheesh on February 10. The deliberations then shifted to New Delhi where Mr. Patel, political advisor to Sonia Gandhi, began talks with the party,” the senior leader said.

Simultaneously, feelers were sent to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

DMK softens stand

“The DMK’s response was cold to begin with. But after persuasion, they have come down from their hard stand of not entertaining the Congress. We feel if the DMDK agrees to be with us, the DMK would welcome us,” said the leader, a former Member of Parliament.

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