The Congress, which has been adopting a tough negotiating posture in its seat-sharing talks with the DMK in Tamil Nadu, has decided to adopt a “practical approach”, party sources said on Tuesday.
With this decision, the poll-related talks with the DMK are expected to move at a faster pace.
According to party sources, when the five-member committee of the Congress party met AICC president Sonia Gandhi, AICC general secretary Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, it was decided to “climb down” from the earlier stand and have a “practical approach”.
The members of the committee, who have been vociferous about the party's demand for a “substantial increase” in the number of seats offered to it, also did not press for it.
“As far as the seats are concerned, the Congress high command will directly talk to the DMK leadership and finalise the seats,” one of the five-member committee told The Hindu.
“Mr Azad is expected to talk to the DMK leadership and fix the numbers. We expect some progress soon,” another member said.
Once the seats are finalised, the committee, comprising Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, TNCC president K.V. Thangkabalu, Congress MP Jayanthi Natarajan and MLA K Jayakumar, will take care of other issues such as identification of constituencies.
“The high-command has asked us to deal with other issues,” the member of the committee said. Asked what would be the expectation of the Congress, all the member would say was that it was no longer 80 or 90 seats.
The talks between Congress committee and the DMK failed to make a breakthrough since both the sides stuck to their positions.
While the Congress demanded 90 seats, the DMK made it clear it had no more than 53 seats to spare.
Scotching reports that the alliance is on the verge of breaking, the Congress leaders said, “There is no change in our position as far as our alliance with the DMK is concerned.” They also said the Congress high command wanted the DMK to address the aspirations of the Congressmen in Tamil Nadu for a share in power and this has been informally agreed to. The Congress is also demanding a coordination committee and a common minimum programme on the lines of the one adopted by the Congress-led UPA-I at the Centre. The DMK has already allotted 31 seats to the PMK and 10 to the VCK headed by Lok Sabha member Thol Thirumavalavan and three seats to the Indian Union Muslim League.
The Congress leadership has constituted a steering committee, headed by Union Minister Vayalar Ravi, to facilitate election work in Tamil Nadu. The other members are Mr.Azad, Oscar Fernandes and Mr. Thangkabalu.
Developments in AIADMK front
Meanwhile, the Left parties hope to conclude seat-sharing with the AIADMK in a day or two. The AIADMK leadership is also on the verge of reaching an agreement with the DMDK, sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations said. On Tuesday, the Left leaders had a discussion with AIADMK leaders at an undisclosed place.