Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday met Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi to discuss seat sharing between the two parties for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. However, no decision was made on the numbers.
Azad, who called on M Karunanidhi along with senior Congress leader Mukul Wasnik, spent over an hour with the DMK patriarch and senior party leaders MK Stalin and Kanimozhi and other office bearers.
“In this meeting, we did not discuss the numbers. But maybe the next time during the second meeting, we would be able to firm up the numbers,” Azad said outside Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence.
“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.
“Both sides exchanged opinions… the Congress would return after consulting leadership,” Mr Karinanidhi’s son MK Stalin later said.
While Mr Stalin refused to reveal how many seats the Congress was offered, DMK sources said the figure was around 30. But the Congress sought 63 seats — the same number it contested in 2011 — in the 234-member assembly. Sources in the party said for now, the Congress will identify seats it wants to contest from.
A senior DMK leader said, “The Congress is now considerably weakened after its leader GK Vasan broke away and it should not insist on a large number of seats and lose them. The alliance would suffer if Congress insisted on high numbers.”
Azad’s visit came days after the unsuccessful attempts of the DMK to woo Captain Vijayakanth’s DMDK to its camp. Besides the Congress, DMK has reached an electoral understanding with Muslim parties like the IUML and the MMK. IUML has been allocated five seats by the DMK.
The bargaining power of the Congress had been severely curtailed by its poor performance in the 2011 elections. During the 2011 elections, the Congress was given 63 seats in the 234-member assembly, but it won just 5. In the 2011 assembly elections, AIADMK had won 150, DMDK-29, DMK-23, CPM-10, CPI-9 and others-13 seats respectively.