Stalin said the DMK would take the decision on the byelections to 21 Assembly constituencies after the Election Commission announces the poll dates.
Chennai: The DMK on Wednesday sealed a poll alliance with the Congress by which the national party will contest nine seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone constituency in the Union territory of Puducherry in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Announcing the Congress score at a crowded press conference at the DMK headquarters in the evening, DMK president M.K. Stalin said his party’s share of seats would be decided very shortly after consultations with its other allies in the large secular front he was trying to forge to take on the AIADMK-BJP front in the state. He refused to indicate the number of seats that the DMK would get ultimately, while saying the Congress constituencies too would be announced later.
Mr Stalin said the DMK would take the decision on the byelections to 21 Assembly constituencies after the Election Commission announces the poll dates. He dismissed reports that DMDK of “Captain” Vijayakant was interested in joining the DMK alliance.
The DMK is in talks with the two Left parties, Vaiko’s MDMK, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), besides indicating that its doors are also open for other parties too to come in.
Flanked by Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik, who is in charge of Tamil Nadu affairs, another general secretary K.C. Venugopal, TNCC president K.S. Alagiri and other senior Congress and DMK leaders, Mr Stalin insisted that the negotiations with the Congress had moved in a transparent manner. “It is a very transparent pact held at the DMK headquarters and not in secrecy at a star hotel”, he said, in a dig at the AIADMK-BJP-PMK deal that fructified at the Crown Plaza Hotel on Tuesday.
Sources said the Congress had earlier pitched its demand rather high, seeking 15-16 seats out of the total 40, but the DMK argued that the chances of the alliance scoring big in Tamil Nadu would be ruined by such over-ambition on the part of the national party that has a low voteshare in the Dravidian state. Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi played a major role in convincing the AICC leadership, even meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his residence on Monday morning and again on Tuesday evening, to clinch the final seat-sharing pact.
Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal, who was a part of the negotiating team, predicted the alliance would sweep the polls in TN-Puducherry. “We had informal talks in Chennai and Delhi for the last two to three days. Rahulj has given us a clear direction. The country very much needs this alliance to fulfil the people’s desire for change”, he said, reiterating the Congress charge that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to deliver any of his promises.
“How many people lost jobs in Tamil Nadu because of the Modi government and this AIADMK government? We are confident of the total score in Tamil Nadu”, said Mr Venugopal.
The DMK and the Congress failed to win any seats in the state in the 2014 general election. While the Congress had gone alone in that poll, the DMK had VCK, IUML, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Puthiya Tamizhagam. The DMK and Congress have been allies since 2004, except between 2013 and 2016.