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DMK woos Left, snubs Cong

Chennai, March 7: The DMK has been wooing the two communist parties since Jayalalithaa dumped them yesterday but has rebuffed the Congress, sources said. The Left twins, though, are undecided.

“We’ll be happy if they (the Left) come,” M. Karunanidhi said last night to a reporter’s question.

The CPI appears willing if the DMK gives two winnable seats to each of the two Left parties. But the CPM has doubts, having opposed the DMK over the 2G scandal.

“Questions were raised earlier about us aligning with Jayalalithaa while she faced a corruption case in Bangalore,” a senior CPM leader said.

“If we accept the DMK’s offer, our entire anti-corruption plank would collapse as the DMK was very much part of the UPA’s corrupt deals and anti-people policies for nine long years.”

Yesterday, the Congress made a desperate attempt to get back on the DMK bandwagon, sources said.

Union finance minister P. Chidambaram is believed to have made two calls to M.K. Stalin, expressing readiness to even accept eight seats —equal to the number of Lok Sabha members the Congress has from Tamil Nadu.

Stalin said a polite but firm “No”, arguing the Congress would be a liability because of its stand on Sri Lankan Tamils and its opposition to those convicted of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, the sources added.

Stalin also apparently argued that the communists and the Congress could not be part of the same front, signalling the DMK’s keenness to tie up with the Left.

Amid the fluid situation, the BJP was upbeat as its slippery prospective allies, Vijayakanth’s DMDK and Ramadoss’s PMK, have finally said “Yes”. Vaiko’s MDMK has already joined the BJP.

A relieved state BJP president, Pon Radhakrishnan, said that seat-sharing talks would be concluded in another three days.

Vijayakanth’s party, which was also courted by the DMK and the Congress, feels it has better prospects as a BJP ally. Also, with the BJP hiking its offer to 14 seats, the DMDK would be the largest partner in the front.

The BJP and the PMK are likely to contest eight each, leaving seven to Vaiko and one each for two smaller caste-based parties, the IJK and the KP, if they join up.

“Vijayakanth may be the leader of the front in Tamil Nadu, but he will be asking for votes to make Modi the Prime Minister, and that would suffice for us,” a BJP leader said.

While the DMDK comes with an eight per cent vote share, the BJP believes that the Modi factor has increased its own share to nearly 12 per cent from the two per cent it won in the latest Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

Based on this calculation, the BJP front will have a 28 per cent vote share. (See chart)

“The real fight is between us and the AIADMK, as both of us will have an equal vote share,” argued a state BJP leader, asserting: “The Modi-for-Prime Minister (line) would attract the undecided voters at the last minute.”

The DMK front, however, boasts a 27 per cent share, which can rise if the Left joins it.