S. Dorairaj

Cadres feel the DMK did not give the party it due share of seats

CPI leaders met DMK president and expressed "displeasure" over the "raw deal" Mr. Karunanidhi initiated damage control measures

CHENNAI: The Communist Party of India on Sunday scotched rumours that it would turn to the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, in view of "non-allocation of seats to match its strength and political influence" by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which heads the Democratic Progressive Alliance.

The DMK has allotted only 10 seats to the CPI for contesting the Assembly elections.

A senior CPI leader told The Hindu here that the party was firm in its stand to enter the fray as a DPA constituent.

The CPI, the first to finalise seat-sharing in the DPA, got two seats more than what it got in the AIADMK-led alliance in 2001. It had submitted a wish list demanding more seats, but there was no sign of any discontentment over the "final seat-sharing."

Discontent sets in

But hectic parleys began in the CPI subsequently, as disenchantment set in over the DMK's formula to share the 22 seats, set aside for the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, with the DPA constituents.

The CPI leaders met DMK president M. Karunanidhi and expressed "displeasure" over the "raw deal." The rumour mills worked overtime, referring to the AIADMK's "overtures" to the CPI.

Damage control

Mr. Karunanidhi initiated damage control measures, going to the extent of offering the CPI a Rajya Sabha seat, party sources said.

But the agitated rank and file continued to press the leadership not to succumb to any design to deny the party its due. Some suggested that the party should go it alone if it could not join hands with the AIADMK.

CPI national secretary D. Raja had to rush to Chennai to hold discussions with comrades. State secretary D. Pandian and other leaders had to strain every nerve to persuade the party functionaries to adopt a realistic approach, explaining that the party was caught in a "Catch-22" situation.

Winnable seats

Finally, the State executive committee, which met in Chennai on Sunday, decided to stay in the DPA in the interests of the State in general and the working classes in particular.

A CPI delegation called on Mr. Karunanidhi and sought allocation of constituencies where the party had consolidated its base, the sources said.

Ruling out any difference with the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which had been allotted three seats more than the CPI, the sources said: "We are happy that the Left ally has got its share. In fact, we greeted them when they came to our party office after clinching the deal with the DMK."

"We are immensely satisfied that there is no clash of interest between the two Left parties. Now all that we want is that the two Communist parties should jointly negotiate with the DMK to ensure that they get winnable seats," said a CPI functionary.