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Tamil Nadu polls: Allies upset with DMK over seat-sharing

Last Updated : 02 March 2021, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 02 March 2021, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 02 March 2021, 17:21 IST
Last Updated : 02 March 2021, 17:21 IST

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Playing the hardball, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, leader of the Opposition combine in Tamil Nadu, is offering “less number of seats” for its alliance partners arguing that it needs to contest in about 180 of the total 234 Assembly constituencies to put up a “tough fight” against the AIADMK-BJP alliance.

The DMK's stand, which is in contrast to the position taken by the party during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has upset the allies. The DMK allotted nearly 20 of the total 39 seats at stake to alliance partners, though a couple of them contested on the party symbol.

While the DMK has so far allotted five seats to two Muslim parties – Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Manidhaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) – talks are underway with the Congress, Left, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) led by Vaiko.

The DMK has told all its alliance partners that it wants to contest in about 180 seats and is in a position to allot only the remaining 54 seats among them. “We have told the alliance party leaders that the 2021 election is a different ball game. It is not just the AIADMK that we are fighting against but also the BJP. So, we have told them that it augurs well for the larger good of the alliance if we contest maximum seats and allies in less number,” a senior DMK leader told DH.

However, the argument has not gone well with allies like the Congress, which is expecting around 35 seats. After the second round of talks on Tuesday, the DMK is said to be ready to offer around 25, which is seven seats higher than the 18 that was proposed during the first round of discussions last week. But, the Congress is still unhappy and will come back again for discussions on Thursday.

For the record, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K S Alagiri told reporters that the talks took place in a “cordial atmosphere” and that there was a possibility of a deal being inked in a “day or two.”

A senior Congress leader told DH on condition of anonymity: “We expected the DMK to be reasonable with us. But they offered just 18 which we see as an insult. There is an opinion within the party that we should not go below 40, but 35 would be an acceptable number. Anything less than that would be difficult for us to convince our cadre. DMK should respect our sentiments.”

The CPI (M) and VCK are also upset with the DMK for its offer. While the Communist party has been offered six seats against its demand of 12, the VCK four though the demand is for 10 seats. “We could not reach an agreement because of the gap in what is being demanded and what is offered. We are obviously disappointed. But we are hopeful that an agreement can be reached,” a leader of an alliance party said.

DMK leaders also say the recent episode of Congress MLAs resigning and joining BJP in Puducherry has forced it to be “too cautious” in allotting more number of seats to allies.

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Published 02 March 2021, 17:21 IST

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