'Congress must understand situation, accept our offer': DMK sources tell TNM

'Congress must understand situation, accept our offer': DMK sources tell TNM
The DMK in Tamil Nadu continues to take a firm stance regarding alliance talks with the Indian National Congress. With the first two rounds of talks ending in an impasse, the DMK has now offered the national party 20 seats in its alliance. Sources in the DMK tell TNM that the ball is now in the Congress' court and they will have to decide if they want to accept the offer or choose to leave the alliance. The Congress had come to the table for negotiations with a demand of 41 seats, the same as the last elections. This time around however, following their abysmal performance in the (previous Tamil Nadu assembly elections and recently concluded Bihar elections), the DMK had already decided to cut down the number of seats offered to the party atleast by half. The Congress has told the DMK that they are ready to settle for 27 seats. The DMK began with an offer of just 12 seats and increased it to 18 on Wednesday. On Thursday, they were willing to go upto 20, "Currently we are offering them 18 seats, which will become 20 when we sign the deal," says a highly-placed DMK source. Senior leaders in the DMK's strategic team have told TNM that the party is willing to go ahead and contest in the elections even without the Congress in the alliance. The party based on its field studies and assessments done by political strategist Prashant Kishore’s Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC), is confident of a landslide victory. A source close to MK Stalin however maintains that the Congress is still welcome to the alliance but they "need to understand the present condition and accept the offer and work towards the DMK alliance victory." The points made during negotiations with the Congress include arguments that the DMK must contest in more seats as suggested by data evidence, past performance and the sentiment against the BJP in Tamil Nadu. "Plus when alliance discussion happened for 2019, Rahul Gandhi himself told MK Stalin that 2021 is DMK’s election and 2019 was theirs. That is the reason we gave them 9+1 seats in 2019. Then we assured them for one Rajya Sabha seat. We were the only ones who said openly that Rahul Gandhi should be the Prime Ministerial candidate," says the DMK source.    

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