Congress-DMK seat-sharing talks inconclusive

Friday, February 25, 2011

CHENNAI - Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK and its ally Congress Friday held their second round of seat-sharing discussions ahead of the ensuing assembly elections but talks remained inconclusive and it was decided to meet again later.

Speaking to IANS, Tamil Nadu Congress chief K.V. Thangkabalu said: “The talks went off well. We have put forward our views and requirements. The DMK have put across their views and requirements.”

Declining to confirm whether the Congress is seeking a share in power if the alliance is voted back to power and if it wants a common minimum programme (CMP), he said: “We have put forward several proposals. I am not in a position to say what they are. Once the talks fructify, we will announce the details.”

It is believed Congress has demanded 80 seats, share in power and a CMP.

Thangkabalu declined to reveal the number of seats the Congress has sought from DMK.

According to him, the discussions will be reported to the Congress high command and based on their advice, the third round of talks will be held.

“Both the parties know each other very well. We have been working together for a long time. A decision will soon be taken,” Thangkabalu added.

The first round of discussions were held Feb 20.

Following DMK chief and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi Jan 31, both parties set up a committee to discuss the seat sharing.

The Congress panel comprises of Thankabalu, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, Rajya Sabha member Jayanthi Natarajan and state legislator Namakkal Jayakumar.

The DMK panel includes Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veeraswami, Law, Courts and Prisons Minister Durai Murugan, Education Minister K. Ponmudy and Lok Sabha member T.R. Baalu.

The DMK and the PMK have signed an agreement to jointly fight the assembly elections, with the PMK being allotted 31 seats.

Earlier, the Congress panel met party members from the state in parliament and the state assembly, leaders at the district level and youth wing and heard their views - a larger slice of the seats and a share in the government if the DMK-Congress combine retains power.

In the 2006 elections, the Congress contested in 48 seats and won 34.

–Indo Asian News Service

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