Amid buzz of a seat-sharing deal ahead of the state elections next year, All India Congress Committee in-charge of Tamil Nadu Dinesh Gundu Rao called on Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin at the party headquarters in Chennai. They were accompanied by Tamil Nadu Congress Committee leader KS Alagiri.
Senior DMK leaders TR Balu, K Ponmudy, Duraimurugan and KN Nehru were also present at the meeting.
The meeting lasted for less than half-an-hour. Speaking to reporters, Rao said, “I know the media has been speculating a lot about this meeting. But our agenda was different. We met DMK president MK Stalin to discuss Rahul Gandhi Ji’s programme in Tamil Nadu. We invited him to join our campaign.”
“The DMK leadership has agreed to participate in some of our events over the next few weeks. Seat-sharing was not on the agenda today, it was not discussed at the meeting. Our meeting was about strengthening the organisation, discussing campaign strategies and assessing where we stand in Tamil Nadu,” Rao said.
Alagiri reiterated that the meeting was more about inviting the DMK leader for Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in Tamil Nadu and there is still time to discuss seat-sharing.
In November, Rao said Congress won’t bargain for seats with the DMK, adding the results of the Bihar polls won’t have an impact in Tamil Nadu.
Sources close to the Congress high command said the party is in the process of identifying winnable constituencies in the state and won’t be asking to contest as many seats as it did in the last Assembly elections.
In 2016, Congress contested 41 constituencies as part of the seat-sharing arrangement with the DMK and managed to win just eight. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the grand old party was allocated nine seats of which they won eight.
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