Two days after DMK President MK Stalin announced the party's official alliance with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and the decision to allot them 10 seats, other allies (current and potential) of the party have expressed dissatisfaction. Speaking to TNM, a senior leader from VCK pointed out that the DMK's decision is impractical considering the national party's abysmal performance in the 2016 Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election.
While the DMK has already announced that the Congress will be given 10 seats including one in Puducherry, sources in the party tell TNM that Congress is being considered for contesting in Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Sivaganga and Tenkasi. For other parties planning to join the alliance including the VCK, MDMK, CPI and CPI(M), the DMK does not plan to allot more than one seat each. The DMK believes that Congress' traditional voter base along with the DMK's own support base will help them tide through in seats alloted.
"These are traditional Congress seats. It is true that the DMK has a sizeable presence but we can't take all the winnable seats. It won't be right. In upto 5 seats they may directly face BJP but we are looking to directly fight the BJP. The Congress has a committed voter base of 3000-5000 in most districts. They are also strong in pockets like Ooty and even South Tamil Nadu," says a source in the DMK.
Sources further tell TNM that other parties including the VCK, MDMK, CPI and CPI(M) have submitted a wishlist to the DMK about the seats they want to contest from and will soon be called in for meetings.
"If you simply look at how the Congress performed in the 2016 elections, it shows that the DMK has made the wrong decision," says the VCK leader. While DMK won over half the 176 seats it contested in, the Congress only managed to win 8 of the 41 seats it contested from. "At that point DMK leaders themselves knew they would have fared better if the Congress had not been given those seats," he adds.
He asserts that the Congress should have been given 7 seats, which would have made it proportional to the number of seats they contested from last time.
But DMK sources point out that while the Congress may not enjoy a huge base of support in some of these constituencies, they could 'afford' to contest from more seats.
"Elections are an expensive affair and involves investing a lot of time and money," says the DMK source. "Even if we did give these other parties more seats, they won't be able to bear the expenses."