Information from state Congress headquarters Sathyamurthy Bhavan suggested that the DMK district presidents are playing hardball with their Congress counterparts, unwilling to concede seats sought by the national ally.
Even as the Dravidian major successfully clinched deals with ally VCK in Villupuram on Sunday, the Congress district presidents were understood to have sent SOS to their state party president KS Alagiri about the adamancy of the DMK district presidents. Be it Tirunelveli or newly formed Kallakurichi, Congress sources disclosed that the DMK district secretaries were not forthcoming in the negotiations.
State Congress treasurer ‘Ruby’ Manoharan was said to be struggling to break the deadlock in his negotiation with DMK counterpart and former speaker Avudaiappan in Tirunelveli, one of the districts where the Congress party holds some sway among the voters.
Even in DMK general secretary Duraimurugan’s native Vellore, a relatively young DMK district secretary had turned down the Congress request. In a few places, his union secretaries were unwilling to concede seats even if he was ready to oblige, a Congress senior revealed. A district secretary in Vanniyar heartland, a Congress source disclosed, told his Congress counterpart that he would offer the desired number of seats in his district if his senior party colleague in the neighbouring district obliged there.
Wary of the way rebel candidates contesting in violation of seat sharing agreement during the first phase, the leadership was believed to have advised the district units to mount continuous pressure on DMK to part with at least 20 pc seats so that they would settle for around 15 per cent.