Stalin, Sonia Gandhi phone call sealed pact between DMK and Congress
DMK MP Kanimozhi also played a role in bringing together the two sides, sources in the two parties said
A phone call between DMK president M.K. Stalin and Sonia Gandhi late on Saturday night sealed the Assembly election seat-sharing deal between the DMK and the Congress, a source in the national party in Delhi said. DMK MP Kanimozhi also played a role in bringing together the two sides, sources in the two parties said.
With the Congress unwilling to scale down its demand for 30 seats [it later pitched for 29 seats], Mr. Stalin is learnt to have stepped in and spoken to Ms. Gandhi over the phone and offered 25 seats to the Congress. Mr. Stalin also offered a Rajya Sabha seat to the Congress, though this does not figure in the official announcement made on Sunday morning.
“The offer of the Rajya Sabha seat sealed the deal for us. The top leadership of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee was brought on board to discuss the issue and everyone agreed that the party should take the offer,” the Congress source said.
Sources in the two parties said Ms. Kanimozhi had engaged with the Congress over the past four to five days and convinced them of the need to fight the polls together.
With almost all the alliance parties, barring the CPI (M) agreeing to the offers made by the DMK to each of them, the Congress found itself in a difficult position of having to go it alone, or fight in another alliance -- a prospect that was ruled out by Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday evening.
With the seat sharing deal signed, the two parties will sit together and decide on the constituencies to be allotted to the national party over the next couple of days, a Congress leader said.