DMK, Cong alliance for TN polls to continue: Karunanidhi

DMK and Congress decided to continue their 7yr old alliance to contest Assembly polls in TN.

New Delhi: The DMK and the Congress on Monday
decided to continue their seven-year-old alliance to contest
the forthcoming Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu amid indications
that the national party may do some hard bargaining for
getting more seats for itself.

With just four months left for the elections in the
state, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi met Congress chief Sonia
Gandhi and decided to set up a committee to thrash out the
modalities of seat-sharing.

"I met Sonia Gandhi for 45 minutes. As a result, the
DMK-Congress coalition is continuing," he told reporters at
the Tamil Nadu House here.

The meeting, which was scheduled to be held in the
afternoon took place in the evening, and the decision to
continue the alliance ended all speculation about any rift
between the coalition partners in the wake of the 2G spectrum
scam which forced A Raja to quit the Union Cabinet.

Karunanidhi said a committee will be formed to discuss
the number of seats and the constituencies to be contested by
both parties.

"A committee will be constituted. It will discuss the
modalities for seat-sharing. The committee will decide the
seats and constituencies of both parties," he said after the
meeting, during which DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R
Baalu, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran and MP Kanimozhi were
present.

The DMK chief said the committee members will be soon
announced and it will start discussing the modalities.

The members of the committee will be made public soon,
he said. After seat-sharing talks are over the coalition will
be ready for the polls, which are due in May, he said.

Sources said the Congress, which had contested 48 of
the 234 seats in the state, appears to be in a mood to demand
about 100 and may settle down for about 75 seats.

The Congress` demand for more seats is understood to
be based on the perception that the DMK`s bargaining may have
been weakened by the 2G spectrum scam. The Congress may also
like a share in power if the alliance is voted back for
another term, the sources said.

The DMK is also said to be prepared for some hard
bargaining from the Congress. The sources said the alliance
was never in doubt but Karunanidhi wanted a public message of
reaffirmation by his visit and meeting Gandhi.

The Congress and the DMK had entered into an alliance
in 2004 and contested the Lok Sabha elections that year, the
2006 Assembly elections and the 2009 general elections
together.

The decision comes a day after Karunanidhi announced
that PMK will be part of the alliance, but PMK founder S
Ramadoss said his party has not yet taken any decision on the
alliance question.

Asked about Ramadoss`s statement, Karunanidhi said
discussions were on and both the parties have not taken a
decision yet.

During the meeting with Gandhi, Karunanidhi is
understood to have apprised her about the situation in the
state.

A senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu said the
party expected at least 80 to 90 seats from the state, but
admitted that during the negotiations it would come down to
65.

"We hope to get at least 65 seats. We also want the
party to be part of the government if the alliance comes to
power. But that decision has to be taken by our president,"
the leader said.

PTI

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