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PMK to join DMK-Congress combine for TN polls

Source: PTI
January 30, 2011 19:32 IST
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Ending days of suspense, Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam president M Karunanidhi on Sunday announced that the Paatali Makkal Katchi will be part of the party-led alliance for the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu in May.

Arriving in New Delhi on a three-day visit, Karunanidhi said he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday to discuss the seat-sharing arrangement between the two parties.

"I am here for election (related) talks. I will be meeting the prime minister and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to discuss the seat-sharing formula," he told reporters at the Tamil Nadu House.

The two parties had earlier in January reaffirmed their commitment to continue their alliance for the assembly polls too. The Tamil Nadu chief minister said he would discuss the number of seats to be contested by the Congress in the assembly elections, which are scheduled to be held in May.

"I will discuss with them the number of seats to be contested by the two parties and also which seats," he said.

When asked whether the talks would be concluded during his stay in Delhi, he said, "I cannot say that."

Karunanidhi said the PMK, led by S Ramadoss, which fought the 2009 Lok Sabha elections along with the Opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, will be part of the DMK-Congress combine during the assembly polls.

"Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, PMK and Muslim League will be part of the alliance," he said when asked whether there will be any other parties in the alliance. This is the first time that the DMK has come out in public to say that PMK will be part of its alliance though there were talks between the two parties on the issue.

The PMK has been cosying up to the DMK ever since it walked out of the AIADMK-led combine after the Lok Sabha polls. But the DMK refused to entertain the PMK last year when it denied a Rajya Sabha seat to former health minister A Ramadoss.

During the meeting with Dr Singh and Gandhi, Karunanidhi will discuss the political situation in the state and also the number of seats to be contested by the alliance partners. The DMK general council on February 3 will ratify the alliance with Congress and PMK.

DMK sources said Karunanidhi will kick off the talks on Monday on the seat-sharing formula but an immediate deal may not be possible.

While the Congress is understood to have demanded nearly 80 to 90 seats in the 234-member assembly, DMK wants to allot only 60-65 seats.

Last time, the Congress contested 48 seats. The sources said hard bargaining is expected from the Congress side this time as the party has been part of the alliance since 2004.

A senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu said the party expected at least 80 to 90 seats, but could end up contesting only 65.

"We hope to get at least 65 seats. We also want the party to be part of the government if the alliance comes to power. But that decision has to be taken by our president," the leader said.

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