With 9 MPs in TN, Congress asks DMK for 54 seats in assembly polls

Published on Feb 26, 2021 08:32 AM IST

With elections due in less than two months, former Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy and party’s chief of communications Randeep Surjewala held talks with DMK leaders in Chennai. DMK chief Stalin didn’t participate in these talks

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala. (HT archive)
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala. (HT archive)

The Congress and the DMK began seat negotiations for the coming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu on Thursday in which the former asked its partner for at least 54 seats, two Congress leaders said on the condition of anonymity.

With elections due in less than two months, former Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy and Congress’ chief of communications Randeep Surjewala held talks with DMK leaders in Chennai. DMK chief Stalin didn’t participate in these talks.

A Congress leader based in Chennai said Chandy and Surjewala told the DMK that since the Congress won nine Lok Sabha seats in 2019 from Tamil Nadu, “we have asked for at least 54 seats”.

Also Read | PM Modi launches BJP campaigns in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

In Tamil Nadu, each Lok Sabha constituency has six assembly segments. “So, those nine Lok Sabha seats would mean 54 assembly seats,” said the first leader.

The second leader pointed out that the choice of Chandy and Surjewala as negotiators also show a clear imprint of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. “Both Chandy and Surjewala are extremely close to Rahul Gandhi. Their arrival as negotiators means Gandhi’s direct involvement in the key talks,” said the second leader.

The demand for 54 seats also signals that even as the Congress fared badly in the last Tamil Nadu assembly polls and showed a very poor strike rate in Bihar polls last year, it has not lost the appetite for big bargains. In 2020 Bihar election, the Congress fought in 70 seats but won just 19.

In the last assembly election in the biggest southern state, the Congress fought 41 seats but managed to win just eight.

While tough negotiations between the Congress and the DMK are expected to continue as they haven’t reached a consensus yet, the first Congress leader said the talks will not fail in any circumstances as both sides are committed to fight the election together.

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