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Congress seeks more time as DMK backtracks

Mar 07, 2011 06:04 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: The impasse over seat sharing for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections between the Congress and the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) continues. Last minute efforts are on to avoid a Congress-DMK break up over seat sharing in Tamil Nadu.

The DMK has now claimed that the Congress has sought one more day to resolve the crisis. The Dravidian party has also decided that its ministers won't resign from the Union Cabinet on Monday.

The day started with the DMK MPs threatening to resign and the Congress refusing to budge. Both parties have now agreed to wait till Tuesday.

Congress' troubleshooter and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is leading the efforts to solve the crisis. He spoke twice to the DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on telephone and party leader Dayanidhi Maran, who is also the Union Textile Minister. Mukherjee reportedly told Karunanidhi to wait for a day and reconsider the resignation decision.

"Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Karunanidhi twice today. Congress has asked for one more day to decide. Our ministers will not quit today," said senior DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin at the party's headquarters Anna Arivalayam in Chennai.

"We will have clearer picture by tomorrow (Tuesday). It's not possible to share everything with the press," DMK MP and Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi.

That bravado of the DMK met its match from an unperturbed Congress refusing to crumble under DMK pressure.

The Congress continued to maintain its hard stance. The party did not agree to a climb down, instead asked for more time. And the end result was that the DMK decided to wait.

This means that the drama continues for another day. But it also means that neither side is willing to break the alliance. Despite the hard posturing, for the DMK, it's a do or die battle and it would be too much of a risk for the Congress.

Earlier, Mukherjee also held consultations with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Congress General Secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu Ghulam Nabi Azad and Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel.

The DMK had on on Saturday decided to pull out of UPA Government at the Centre, withdraw its ministers from the Cabinet and said that the party would provide only issue-based support to the Central Government.

The six DMK ministers: Dayanidhi Maran - Textiles, Alagiri - Chemicals and Fertilizers, S Palanimanickam - MoS Finance, D Napoleon - MoS Social Justice and Empowerment, S Jagath Rakshakan - MoS Information and Broadcasting, S Gandhiselvan - MoS Health had earlier decided to submit their resignation to the Prime Minister on Monday evening.