A Congress panel tasked with carrying out seat-sharing talks with the DMK for the Tamil Nadu assembly polls called on chief minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday at the end of day long internal consultations, but dubbed the visit a courtesy call.
The five member Congress panel headed by union home minister P Chidambaram chose to meet the DMK chief at his home even though the internal consultations were not completed.
This triggered talks that the Congress was trying to dispel impressions of a strain in ties with its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ally in the aftermath of the 2G spectrum scam, which led to the arrest of DMK leader and former telecom minister A Raja. A source said the Congress panel informed the chief minister that the party had begun internal consultations and would get back to the DMK on the number of seats it wanted for the polls, likely in May.
Earlier, during the internal consultations of the Congress, the panel met MPs and MLAs to know their views on the alliance, poll strategy and ground reality.
Each elected representative was called inside a room to interact with the panel, which also has union shipping minister GK Vasan, All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president KV Thangkabalu and TNCC SC/ST cell member K Jayakumar.
A senior MLA said the party should demand 78 seats, two for each Lok Sabha constituency, as mooted by AICC member Karti Chidambaram. The panel was also told that the poll battle would become tougher if J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK teamed up with actor Vijaykant’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK).