Tamil Nadu

DMK to seal alliance deal soon

M.K. Stalin.  

The DMK and the Congress are likely to seal the seat-sharing pact for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in a couple of days.

On Sunday, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) leaders, including its president K.S. Alagiri, met the party’s top brass in New Delhi to finalise the seats the party would be contesting. The TNCC leaders held meetings with senior party leaders Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, while DMK MP Kanimozhi met them separately.

“We have been asked to identify potential candidates, and the next meeting will be held on Monday. Only after will we hold talks with the DMK on seats. Since we are friendly parties, we may adopt a flexible approach when it comes to numbers,” said a senior TNCC leader.

The DMK is ready to offer eight seats — seven in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in Puducherry— to the Congress. The number may go up by a couple of seats, making it nine plus one (Tamil Nadu + Puducherry). The seats sought by the Congress include Kanniyakumari, its traditional bastion, which was won by the DMK in 2009, and Sivaganga, which had, in the past, been represented by former Union Minister P. Chidambaram.

Playing hardball

Though the DMK was interested in roping in the PMK into the alliance, the two sides could not reach any agreement on the number of seats to be allotted to the PMK as the latter was playing hardball, second-line DMK and Congress leaders claimed.

“When the PMK approached us through former TNCC president M. Krishnaswamy, we offered it three seats. After that, there was no response from the PMK, which is also holding parleys with the ruling AIADMK,” said a DMK source, adding that the PMK would come forward to join the alliance only if it gets a minimum of six seats: five Lok Sabha seats and one Rajya Sabha seat.

This, a Congress leader said, could be adjusted by the alliance leader. “One or two seats should not matter now, as the idea is to ensure that the BJP alliance does not get even a single seat in Tamil Nadu,” he argued.

“Even though the PMK fared poorly in the last three elections, its vote share has not depleted. Its most recent vote share was 5.53%, which could easily tilt the alliance’s prospects (in parts of northern and western T.N.). Moreover, the PMK will play a crucial role in the byelections to 20 Assembly constituencies in the State,” explained another DMK leader from northern Tamil Nadu.

But the DMK does not want to be seen as overenthusiastic about an alliance with the PMK, since the latter could seek to turn this in its favour and bargain hard with the ruling AIADMK for an even better deal.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 1:11:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dmk-to-seal-alliance-deal-soon/article26298859.ece

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