Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DMK-Congress seat sharing impasse ends, Congress gets 63

New Delhi, Mar 8 : The impasse between the Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) over seat sharing for the upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu came to an end on Tuesday evening with the former being allotted 63 seats.
The DMK has reportedly surrendered to the Congress' demand for 63 seats. The DMK will part with 61 of those, and the other two will be taken from the DMK's regional allies.

Earlier today, DMK leaders M K Alagiri and Dayanidhi Maran met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today to find a solution to the ongoing crisis.

The DMK ministers met Congress President Sonia Gandhi late on Monday night, but the meeting was inconclusive.

DMK had earlier put on hold the resignation of its six ministers from the UPA Government.

Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M K Stalin said that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee telephoned DMK chief M Karunanidhi twice and urged him not to pull out his ministers from the cabinet during the Budget Session and sought a day's time to resolve problems.

The DMK currently has six ministers in the Union Cabinet, including Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister MK Alagiri and Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran - and four junior ministers - SS Palanimanickam (Finance), S Jagathrakshakan (Information and Broadcasting), D Napoleon (Social Justice and Empowerment) and S Gandhiselvan (Health and Family Welfare).

The decision to pull out of the UPA government was taken at a DMK leadership meeting chaired by party president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, and attended by senior leaders including Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin held in Chennai on Saturday.

The party would, however, continue to provide ''issue-based support'' to the Central government.

A DMK statement had said that the Congress demand for 63 seats even after the DMK expressed its readiness to concede 60 showed it was not keen on having it as an ally.

"Hence we have decided to pull out," the statement had said.

DMK's sacrifice in alliance's larger interest: Karunanidhi

Chennai: As the DMK and the Congress overcame differences to arrive at a seat-sharing agreement for the April 13 assembly polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi Tuesday said his party has made a sacrifice in the alliance's larger interests.
Addressing a function where around 3,000 cadres of DMDK joined his party, Karunanidhi said the party has accepted the Congress' demand for the extra seats in the larger interests of the state and following the policy of give and take.

Terming it an "happy day" for them, he expressed confidence that the alliance partners would fight the polls with renewed vigour so as to win again.

After a three-day tense drama which saw the DMK announce breaking of its seven year presence in the United Progressive Alliance, the DMK Tuesday yielded and allowed the Congress to contest 63 of the 234 seats in the assembly elections, instead of the 60 it had originally offered.

Karunanidhi lauded alliance partners PMK and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) for sacrificing one seat each for the Congress. The third seat will come out of the DMK's share.
He also criticised a section of the media for trying to create a wedge between the two long-time allies. 

Won't sacrifice seats for Congress: PMK

Chennai: The PMK, which is part of the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu, is confident it will not be asked to sacrifice some seats to satisfy the Congress demands for more seats in the Assembly elections.

"Our 31 seats remain intact. We will not be asked to sacrifice seats in favour of some other party," a PMK senior leader said on condition of anonymity.

The ruling DMK has allowed PMK to contest from 31 seats. The two parties are holding discussions to finalise the constituencies for the PMK, whose strongholds are in the northern belt of Tamil Nadu. 
According to the DMK, the Congress demand of 63 seats of its choice to contest in the April 13 polls for the 234-member house was unjustifiable. 

However, hectic negotiations were held Monday between the leaders of the Congress and DMK in a bid to save the seven-year-old relationship. 

According to informed sources, one of the compromise formulas worked out was to agree to the Congress demand of 63 seats by taking away three seats from the PMK quota. 

The DMK Tuesday started interviewing aspiring candidates. The interview panel is headed by party leader and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi himself. The interviews will go on till March 13. 

DMK senior leader MK Alagiri and Dayanidhi Maran - both central ministers - met Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday night. 

The DMK, which has 18 members in the Lok Sabha, is expected to take a decision Tuesday on whether its central ministers should to ahead and quit the government -- or not.