DMK bows: Stalemate ends, Congress has its way!

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New Delhi, Mar 8: The DMK today blinked in the battle of attrition and conceded 63 seats for Congress under a seat-sharing deal between the two parties for the coming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, ending three days of political drama.

The leadership of DMK and Congress have finally decided on the number of seats and Congress will contest 63 seats, announced Ghulam Nabi Azad to reporters outside the residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The demand of 63 seats by Congress marks an increase of 15 seats over the number it got in the 2006 assembly elections and a number that was frowned upon by DMK M Karunanidhi when he announced pull out of the party from the UPA government on Saturday.

The deal was announced after DMK Minister Dayanidhi Maran held two rounds talks with senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament House during which Azad and Gandhi''s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel were also present.

From the meeting a beaming Maran, accompanied by another Union Minister M K Alagiri, and Congress leaders drove to Gandhi''s residence to thank her for the deal on behalf of DMK''s leadership.

In an act of brinkmanship, DMK announced the pull out of its six ministers from the Union Council of Ministers and offered issued-based support accusing Congress of making attempts to push it out of the coalition.

On Friday night, Karunanidhi had accused the Congress of being unreasonable by escalating the demand for seats from 50 to 53 to 57 and then to 60. And after agreeing to settle for 60, the party later raised the demand to 63, he had complained.

But it was not not clear whether there has been any agreement between the two parties on conceding to Congress demand for its choice of constituencies and power sharing after the elections.

PTI

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