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The DMK, which is heading the seven-party Democratic Progressive

Written by: Staff

Alliance (DPA), on the other hand, was trying to keep its flock together, though it heaved a sigh of relief after MDMK led by Vaiko, broke his prolonged silence and announced his party's continuance in the front.

The DMK, which had been repeatedly claiming that the alliance was ''very much intact'', was caught in a horns of a dilemma as the DPA constituents, buoyed by the sweeping success in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, were demanding a larger share of seats this time for the Assembly polls.

This was precisely one of the reasons why the lower rung leaders of the MDMK favoured a tie-up with the AIADMK, notwithstanding Vaiko's detention under the now-defunct POTA for more than two years by the Jayalalithaa government.

The clarion call by newly-elected AIADMK Presidium Chairman and former Assembly Speaker K Kalimuthu asking the MDMK to join hands with the AIADMK, added fuel to the fire and also created ripples in the DPA camp.

However, Vaiko's announcement had put at rest the speculations of his party joining hands with the ruling party. But the DMK chief, whose political acumen in dealing with ''crisis-like situation'' was well known, has to whet the appetite of the allies in sharing the 234 Assembly seats in the State.

The DMK could well feel to be in a comfort zone as the allied parties had already made it clear that they would not demand a share in the power in the event of the DPA winning the polls.

It was in this background that the crucial three-day DMK conference was being held in Tiruchirapalli, where DMK Patriarch M Karunanidhi was expected to outline the DPA's strategy for the polls.

He had already initiated the seat sharing discussions with the alliance partners and the deals were expected to be clinched soon after the Tiruchirapalli meet. The DPA constituents had already submitted their ''wish lists'' to the DMK.


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