The DMK Saturday announced its decision to tie up with the Congress for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, reversing the situation in the last Lok Sabha elections when the Congress contested alone and bagged 5 per cent votes in the state.
The announcement followed a meeting between AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and DMK chief M Karunanidhi at the latter’s residence here.
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After the meeting, Azad told the media that his party would fight the elections under the DMK’s leadership. He added that further expansion of the alliance, with other potential partners, was being discussed.
Karunanidhi’s son M K Stalin and daughter Kanimozhi were also present at the meeting. Stalin, the DMK treasurer, said that discussions on seat-sharing were pending.
In the 2011 Assembly elections, the Congress contested 63 seats in alliance with the DMK but won only five, while the DMK too suffered a major setback by winning just 23 seats out of 124 they contested.
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Political observers said the renewed alliance between the DMK and Congress would be significant as the Congress accounted for at least 5 per cent votes in the last elections. “Even if G K Vasan split the party after that election, the traditional base of the Congress cannot be challenged. Rather it must have been strengthened under the leadership of E V K S Elangovan. In southern belts, the Congress remains a powerful presence and their second-level leadership draws sizeable votes from various communities, including Nadar, which claims the legacy of K Kamaraj,” said a source.
Meanwhile, DMK leaders are engaged in negotiations with Captain Vijayakanth of the DMDK to strengthen the anti-AIADMK coalition. “We have invited the DMDK. We are waiting for a positive reply,” Stalin said. The DMDK claims to have a vote share of 8-9 per cent in the state.
The leadership of Elangovan is expected to increase the visibility of the DMK-Congress alliance. While Elangovan, known for his trademark speeches, had raised cases against the Jayalalithaa government, Congress leader Khushboo, an actor-turned-politician, is also expected to play a role in the elections with her oratorial skills.