2019 general elections: Stalin’s 20-20 team & Indian Political League

Chennai: Too many partners, but there are only 40 constituencies to part with. Amid criticism from political analysts and a section of his own cadres, DMK president M K Stalin arrived at the final figure on seat-sharing Tuesday, by adopting a 20-20 strategy.

By keeping 20 seats for itself, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has shared an equal number of constituencies among its allies – Congress (10), VCK (2), CPI (2), CPI-M (2), MDMK (1), IUML (1), KMDK (1) and IJK (1).

While a senior AIADMK leader says the DMK has gone weak under the leadership of Stalin and the ‘party succumbing to pressure from allies’ by allotting more seats to them is just an example to his claim, a DMK senior, who was part of the seat-sharing process, denies this.

“For decades, since the time of Kalaignar (Karunanidhi), the DMK has been cordial towards its allies and it was a trusted partner in coalition governments at the Centre only because of its friendly attitude. Especially in parliamentary polls, the DMK had the habit of being liberal towards its friends and we have adopted the same strategy this time, too. It is mischievous to say that the party has become weak under Thalapathy (Stalin). In fact, these many parties coming under the DMK’s umbrella shows our strength. This is a winning combine and our alliance will storm to power in Delhi.”

Asked about the criticism that allocating 10 constituencies to Congress was ‘too much’ since the AIADMK has given only five seats to the BJP, the DMK office-bearer says, “We are not worried about our rivals and critics. They will say a thousand things against us. We know the plus and minus points of our partners more than anyone else. Our focus is only on voters and we will make a clean sweep.”

The DMK alliance will start its election campaign 13 March, when Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be in Tamilnadu. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, too, is expected to be part of the event in which all partners of the combine will share the stage.

M Bhaskar Sai