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TN polls: Cong-DMK seat-sharing talks begin

February 20, 2011 18:54 IST

The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Congress on Sunday set in motion seat-sharing talks for the Tamil Nadu assembly polls due in May under the shadow of 2G spectrum allocation scam and amid pressure from the junior ally for more seats and power sharing.

The first round of talks were described as "cordial" by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K V Thangkabalu, who is part of the five-member DMK panel which has Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin among other members.

"It was a cordial meeting. We discussed several issues which have to be apprised to the high commands of the respective parties," Thangkabalu told reporters after an hour-long meeting at the DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam in Chennai.

He, however, parried questions related to the number of seats the ruling party would pitch for or sharing power with Congress in the event of the alliance returning to power.

He said the number of seats to be contested by the two allies would be taken up at the next meeting, the date for which had not been decided so far. "There will be clarity after the next meeting," he said.

The much-awaited talks between the two parties, which first came on a common platform for the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, dragged on for some time as uncertainty prevailed in the wake of the 2G spectrum allocation scam that led to the exit of DMK leader as Telecom Minister and his subsequent imprisonment.

Congress rank and file have made a strong demand for more seats, besides a share in power, which has eluded them till now despite the party's 34 MLAs providing a crucial support to the DMK in the 234-member Assembly.