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DMK blinks, Congress to contest 63 seats

Posted by on March 8, 2011 0 Comment

New Delhi/Chennai, March 8 (IANS) Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK Tuesday agreed to let the Congress party contest 63 seats in assembly elections, ending a bitter row between the two long-time allies.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke effusively about the Congress-DMK alliance after announcing that his party would put up candidates in 63 of 234 constituencies — a demand the DMK had earlier refused to concede.

“DMK and Congress leaders have finally decided that the Congress will be contesting 63 seats,” Azad told reporters in New Delhi, with DMK’s central ministers M.K. Azhagiri and Dayanidhi Maran flanking him.

“We will work together,” added the central health minister, who is the Congress in-charge for Tamil Nadu. “We will be able to form the government again (in Tamil Nadu).”

Azhagiri confirmed what Azad said but did not go into details. He merely quipped: “This is a winning alliance.”

The DMK had until Saturday agreed to give only 60 seats to the Congress.

The formal announcement came three days after the DMK dramatically took back support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government after refusing to give the Congress 63 seats to contest.

But with Congress and DMK leaders getting into close-door discussions, the DMK blinked.

Informed sources in Chennai said the DMK and two of its allies, the PMK and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), would give up a seat each from their quota to meet the Congress demand.

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