Tamil Nadu

Congress and DMK begin seat-sharing talks for polls

Commencing preliminary seat-sharing talks with the DMK on Thursday, the Congress is learnt to have pitched for over 50 seats for the upcoming Assembly election.

However, the senior partner is believed to have gently pointed to the poor strike rate of the Congress in the 2016 Assembly election, when it won just eight of the 41 allotted seats.

The DMK also conveyed to the Congress delegation that it wanted to contest as many seats as possible to secure a comfortable victory. “We told them that a narrow victory may lead to anything in today’s political situation. We have witnessed the BJP’s game in Puducherry,” a DMK source said.

However, the Congress is buoyed by the response its former president Rahul Gandhi drew during his two recent visits to Tamil Nadu. It has been working on identifying potentially strong constituencies from where it can contest.

When Congress leaders explained Mr. Gandhi’s personal interest in Tamil Nadu, DMK leaders countered that no one was interested in witnessing what happened in Bihar and other States, where the Congress failed to register a big victory.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, AICC in-charge of Tamil Nadu, who was part of the Congress delegation, when contacted, said the party had sought a certain number of seats from the DMK, based on an assessment done in the last few months.

‘Fruitful meeting’

“We don’t want to go into the numbers. The meeting with DMK leaders was fruitful and friendly. We have sought a number of seats. Let us see,” he told The Hindu. The numbers will be finalised as talks progress.

Another Congress leader said the party was asking for a higher number of seats as it did not want to be pushed into a corner to accept very few seats from the DMK.

When asked if the Congress had a certain threshold to which it was willing to go down, a leader said they hoped it would not come down to such a scenario. “The alliance is quite strong and is in a position to win the poll. Things will be sorted out,” the leader said.

The DMK team was represented by general secretary Duraimurugan, treasurer T.R. Baalu and women’s wing leader Kanimozhi.

Apart from Mr. Rao, the Congress delegation comprised former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, AICC spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, TNCC president K.S. Alagiri and Congress floor leader in the Assembly K.R. Ramasamy. Mr. Duraimurugan said the general council meeting of the party to discuss the Assembly poll would be held on March 7.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:01:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/congress-and-dmk-begin-seat-sharing-talks-for-polls/article33936726.ece

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