Even as the stalemate between the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Congress on identification of 63 constituencies for the latter continued for the third day, the Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) has announced that an accord on identification has almost been reached with the DMK on its 10 seats.
Though Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu had told reporters at the DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam on Friday night that the talks would continue on Saturday morning, the Congress team did not turn up.
Interestingly, all its five members — Mr. Thangkabalu, Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram, Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, All India Congress Committee spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan and MLA K. Jayakumar — arrived at the Congress headquarters Sathyamurthy Bhavan around 9 a.m. Their discussions lasted more than 75 minutes.
At the same time, all the election committee members of the DMK, including Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, were present at Anna Arivalayam.
When Mr. Thangkabalu was contacted in the afternoon, he said: “Talks are going on. We will meet the DMK team in the evening.”
In the afternoon, most of the Congress members did not turn up at Sathyamurthy Bhavan or the DMK headquarters, triggering rumours of an imminent breakdown of talks. In the evening too, the DMK committee members were present at their headquarters.
According to Congress sources, the list of seats offered by the DMK after four rounds of discussions on Thursday and Friday had been forwarded to the Congress high command. “We are yet to get the green signal from Delhi.” Besides, agreement on constituencies meant for the Youth Congress candidates, sought by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, was also elusive.
DMK sources said that while an agreement had been reached on most of the constituencies, identification of some in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts continued to bedevil the talks. They pointed out that the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) had made it clear to Chief Minister and DMK president M. Karunanidhi that it would not be “any more generous,” having “sacrificed” one constituency for the sake of harmony in the alliance.
VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan, who arrived at Anna Arivalayam around 7 p.m., was closeted with the DMK panel for about half an hour. Around 8 p.m. he was invited to meet Mr. Karunanidhi.
Coming out of the DMK leader's chamber, Mr.Thirumavalavan announced: “Almost 90 per cent of the identification of the 10 constituencies for us is over. Only inking the accord is pending.”
Asked to name the constituencies, he said, “It will be announced by the alliance leader, Mr. Karunanidhi.”