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Seat sharing in ruling TN coalition hits a roadblock after DMK shows big brother attitude

Chennai, Jan 31 (BPNS)

The seat-sharing in the ruling coalition of Tamil Nadu for the Urban local body elections has hit a roadblock after the main partner, DMK showed a big brother attitude to partners. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president, M.K. Stalin had in an open letter to DMK functionaries had directed them to arrive at amicable solutions to seat-sharing but the coalition partners like MDMK, Congress, VCK, and even the left parties are not satisfied with the attitude of the DMK district leaders.

The DMK district functionaries including secretaries, according to Congress Tamil Nadu state leaders were acting rudely to the coalition partners and this has led to the seat-sharing hitting a roadblock. The seat-sharing is to be finalized in a day or two as the deadline for nominations to the Urban local body polls is February 4.

Congress leaders are of the opinion that they need a minimum of 10 percent of the seats in the local body polls and the party leaders said that they were directed by the state leadership to demand at least 15 % of the seats in the offing. However, sources in the Congress told IANS that DMK district secretaries have rubbished the claims and are adamant that the number of seats given to the Congress party is less than 5% in each local body.

 A senior DMK leader while speaking to BPNS on conditions of anonymity from Chennai said,” What is the strength of Congress in Tamil Nadu is open knowledge for all the social workers. They should understand the reality and be satisfied with whatever seat we are allocating them. Congress party does not have any strength in the state on their own and the DMK is helping them. However, the attitude of local-level leaders of Congress is unfortunate and this will put a break in the relationship. DMK is a powerful cadre-based party and we know the exact merits and demerits of our party at the grass root levels but the Congress doesn’t have any such grass root machinery and if seats are distributed according to the whims and fancies of the Congress, the alliance will bite the dust which we don’t want to happen.”

The Congress leaders when asked said that the DMK has become overconfident and without a coalition, the seats can go either way.

Congress Tamil Nadu state president, K. S. Alagiri while speaking to BPNS said,” The seat-sharing is taking place properly. There are no roadblocks and Congress and DMK will amicably settle the sharing of seats. Congress and DMK have excellent personal rapport at the ground level and they will iron out the differences if any.”

The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) is also unhappy at the manner in which seat sharing is taking place on the ruling front. Here also the DMK has asserted itself and informed the VCK functionaries that they don’t have the strength at the grass-root level that the party was claiming and that the DMK would allocate lesser number of seats to the Dalit movement.

The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam( MDMK) of Vaiko has also complained of the erratic and arrogant behavior of local DMK leaders on seat sharing. A senior party leader while speaking to BPNS said,” The MDMK has our own strength at several pockets in Tamil Nadu and the DMK district-level leaders are assuming that we are a spent force which we are not. The DMK will have to consider our strength and in certain seats, the difference between the winner and loser will be less than 10 votes. This makes small political parties important in local body elections and the big brotherly attitude of DMK will not work here. Elections, especially local body elections can swing either way in certain seats for a very few votes and if the DMK understands this thumb rule, well and good.”

The left parties are also grumbling on the seat-sharing and the arrogance of the DMK leaders at the local levels. CPM state secretary, Balakrishnan has already held one or two discussions with Chief Minister Stalin, and the local level discussions between DMK leaders and the CPM district leaders are taking place. Sources in the DMK told BPNS that the left parties do not have any strength and that they may allocate a few seats to the leftists in Tamil Nadu.”