CHENNAI: AN invitation to support the Federal Front, if neither BJP nor Congress secure enough seats to form a government, was reportedly the main agenda of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s meeting with DMK chief M K Stalin, on Monday. Rao is also understood to have stressed the importance of southern regional parties having better leverage in the next Union Government.
Stalin, however, according to sources, conveyed his party’s ‘commitment’ to Congress. “He urged Rao to extend support for the Congress-led alliance to form government,” said DMK sources.
The hour-long meeting at Stalin’s residence ended without a press conference. While DMK spokesperson termed the visit a ‘courtesy call’, most DMK leaders were tight-lipped on what was discussed at the meeting. A senior DMK leader said: “Stalin was the first to propose Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister candidate of the alliance. Stalin is also hoping to capture power in the State if our party wins all the 22 seats in Assembly bypolls. The support of eight Congress MLAs will be crucial for this.”
Any wrong signals, the DMK leader said, would cost DMK-Congress alliance dearly in the four Assembly seats that will face bypolls on May 19. DMK sources also clarified that the Congress was informed in advance about the meeting.
“This is why the date of the meeting could not be confirmed though Telangana CM had announced he would meet Stalin on Monday,” sources said.
BJP was swift in reacting to the development. “The DMK has a reputation of changing colours,” said Tamilisai Soundarajan. Reacting to it, Congress leader KS Alagiri said: “Even if Rao, as assumed by Tamilisai, discussed the possibility of a third alliance, we are sure Stalin would have persuaded him to join the Congress alliance.”
Rao is believed to be making efforts to unite regional parties to form a non-Congress, non-BJP front ahead of the declaration of the Lok Sabha poll results. Recently, he held meetings with his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.