Setting the ball rolling to decide seat-sharing among them for the May 16 Assembly polls, the top leadership of DMK and Congress today held their first round of talks on the issue. Kick-starting the process after the two parties entered into an alliance for the polls last month, Congress senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik met DMK chief Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence and held talks.
Speaking to reporters after nearly an hour of talks, Azad said the “discussion of election strategy was the main purpose.” Answering a question, he said, “In so far as seat sharing is concerned, we just raised this issue. We have not firmed up numbers and we have given some time for DMK also (to decide).”
“They will also think about numbers and finally we will also discuss among ourselves, with our leadership, the PCC chief and other (Tamil Nadu) leaders and may be the second time we will be able to firm up the numbers,” he said.
Asked how many seats his party was expecting, he said, “No. We did not discuss numbers. As I said, our basic purpose was to discuss election strategy and also to find out as to how many other groups are joining and how many have already joined. That was the basic purpose.”
“Of course, we have told the DMK leadership that we should finalise the numbers also,”, he said, adding the number of seats that will be contested by Congress and other partners in the DMK-led front should be decided.
He said this is “not the final meeting,” and seat-sharing could be decided in subsequent talks.
Later, Azad and Wasnik held discussions with State Congress leaders at party headquarters Sathyamurthy Bhavan.
DMK treasurer MK Stalin described the meeting as cordial and said “they have expressed their opinion, similarly, our party chief Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) has expressed his views and the discussion happened cordially.”
“Congress leaders will apprise their leadership about today’s discussion and after such consultations they have said they would come again soon to meet our party chief,” he said.
Congress sources said the party has told DMK about the number of seats it wanted to contest. Also, the DMK has given an indicative number to it which will be communicated to the AICC, they added.
The talks have taken place against the background of DMK’s unsuccessful attempts to make the front led by it formidable by roping in the DMDK which has chosen to go with the four party bloc—People’s Welfare Front.