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Sonia Gandhi calls Stalin and settles for 25 seats in the assembly | India News


CHENNAI: It took a call from Congress Speaker Sonia Gandhi to DMK Chairman MK Stalin on Saturday night to bring the meandering seat-sharing talks between the two sides to a logical end.
DMK and Congress signed an agreement on Sunday to share seats to participate together in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections. DMK has allocated 25 assembly seats for Congress in the alliance, in addition to the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat that was left vacant after H Vasanthakumar was infected with Covid-19 and died in August last year.
Sonia Gandhi reached out to Stalin and emphasized the need to maintain this secular alliance in the wake of the BJP attack, a senior AICC leader based in Delhi told TOI. In addition to the assembly seats, the talks focused on the congressional request for two seats from Rajya Sabha, one directly from DMK and the other based on the outcome of the assembly election. “The DMK had made sure to consider the request at the right time. We do not put them in black and white and it works on mutual trust, ”said the AICC leader.
After the conversation, Stalin invited TNCC president KS Alagiri and AICC secretary general in charge of Tamil Nadu Dinesh Gundu Rao to his residence on Monday night. DMK’s women’s wing secretary Kanimozhi was also present. Significantly, it was the first such meeting that Stalin held at his residence, as DMK held all its negotiations at the party office.
On Sunday morning, Stalin and Alagiri formally signed the agreement to share a seat at Anna Arivalayam, the DMK headquarters. Present were Dinesh Gundu Rao, the party leader of the Congressional legislature, KR Ramasamy, and Kanimozhi.
The development ends the lengthy negotiations DMK had with Congress. The first round of talks began on February 25, followed by the second last Tuesday, amid tears, anguish and recriminations. Last Friday, at an internal TNCC meeting, Alagiri broke down recounting to party colleagues how the negotiating team was “treated” by DMK leaders.
“This election has more to do with the need to strengthen the secular platform than with the number of seats. To prevent the spread of the BJP, which is more dangerous than the coronavirus, all secular parties had to join hands with the sole aim of defeating the BJP and its allies, ”Alagiri told reporters after signing the agreement.
He recalled that in his recent campaign in Tamil Nadu, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi described the election of the assembly as an ideological war, rather than a mere regime change. “This secular front will win big in this election,” said Dinesh Gundu Rao.

Times of India