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Congress, DMK formally clinch electoral alliance
January 08, 2004 14:46 IST
Last Updated: January 08, 2004 16:15 IST
After a gap of 24 years, the Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Thursday clinched an alliance deal for contesting the Lok Sabha polls and agreed to work together to defeat 'communal forces' in the country and to form a 'secular' government at the Centre.
Both the parties were in alliance in 1980, when former prime minister Indira Gandhi stormed back to power after the Congress debacle in the 1977 polls.
Announcing the formation of the alliance, senior Congress leader and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's special emissary Dr Manmohan Singh and DMK chief M Karunanidhi told a joint press meet: "We have agreed to work together to defeat the communal forces in the country and to form a secular government at the centre."
The modalities of seat sharing would be discussed after the announcement of Lok Sabha polls, both the leaders said after an hour-long luncheon meeting at Karunanidhi's residence.
"I have come here to establish a new relationship of trust and confidence with the DMK leader M Karunanidhi and his party," Singh said.
On the prime ministerial candidate of the alliance, he said, "The prime minister will be decided by the people and the leaders of the secular parties."
Asked whether it would be disadvantageous for the front to go to the people without a prime ministerial candidate, he said, "I do not think that we are at a disadvantage."
On whether he would be the prime ministerial candidate of the front, Singh said, "I am not in the race. It has to be decided by all leaders of the secular front."
Asked who would lead the alliance in Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi said the DMK will lead the alliance. "I do not want to be leader of the alliance, but others want me to be the leader," he said.
"Karunanidhi is not a leader of Tamil Nadu alone but a great leader and one of the builders of the nation. His life and work has inspired many in the country," Singh said.
Karunanidhi described the meeting as 'very satisfactory and amicable'.
Former Union ministers T R Baalu and A Raja, DMK deputy general secretary M K Stalin and TNCC president G K Vasan also participated in the talks.