The Congress party will be realistic about the seats it will contest in Tamil Nadu as part of the DMK-led alliance, but doesn’t foresee any problems in the discussions, Dinesh Gundu Rao, AICC in-charge of Tamil Nadu, said.
The party has started the process of identifying seats where it would be strong and has good candidates. “We are looking at it from a critical, practical angle. We are looking at it, constituency by constituency, and are being realistic about it. That alliance should be able to win is more important than any other consideration,” Mr. Rao told The Hindu, on Monday.
“The Bihar results didn’t go our way. But Tamil Nadu is different. Here, we have an alliance with the DMK that is well tested and we fought the last Parliamentary and Assembly polls together. In Bihar, in the Lok Sabha polls, it was a total washout for our alliance, but in T.N. the Secular Progressive Alliance swept the State. The alliance has worked well on the ground and enjoys the support of the people. That is going to continue,” Mr. Rao said.
He said the Congress would be able to strengthen the DMK and other parties in the alliance where margins might become smaller. “In about 100 seats, we will be able to help the DMK in close contests,” he said. When asked about the party’s seat sharing hopes in the current situation, he reiterated that the party would be realistic.
Seat-sharing arrangement should be based on a realistic approach, the Congress’ strengths and vote share of parties. “We will try to convince our partners and have a fair and transparent discussion. There shouldn’t be any unnecessary bargaining,” he said.
Mr. Rao further said the Congress would work to make DMK president M.K. Stalin the Chief Minister as he had supported Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for the Prime Ministerial job during the Lok Sabha polls.
Mr. Gandhi’s presence, he said, would be required during the campaigning in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and the party was working on an extensive programme for him and that the plans were currently being discussed.