Cong in a wait and watch mode

Chennai/New Delhi: The DMK and Congress were on Sunday locked in a battle of attrition, a day after the regional party announced pulling out its ministers from the UPA government with neither party making any moves to break the deadlock in the aftermath of failure of seat-sharing talks for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.

Highly-placed sources in both the parties in Chennai and Delhi said they were not not going to blink first and were prepared for any fallout over the DMK high-powered committee`s decision last night to withdraw from the government and its impact on the highly-successful seven-year-old alliance between the two parties.

DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu said the party`s six ministers, two of them at the level of Cabinet, will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh around noon and submit their resignation.

He said none from the Congress leadership had made any contact with the DMK high command on the current state of relations.

Highly-placed sources in the DMK said they were going ahead with seat-sharing talks with PMK and allocation of seats to a number of small allies had already taken place putting restrictions on how much the party could accommodate Congress.

The sources said it appears that there is no chance of a patch-up with the Congress.

The sources said there was some hardening of the stand in the party leadership today and they were not not in a mood to even repeat their last night`s offer that they were prepared to consider a tie-up even at this stage if Congress confined its demand for 60 seats and gave up its condition that it would choose the constituencies it would contest.

In Delhi, equally the Congress party also did not not appear to be the one to be in a hurry to buckle to what it considers DMK`s pressure tactics.

"No initiative will be taken by us to break the deadlock and we are prepared for DMK`s move to pull out its ministers from the government," the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The sources dismissed reports that senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee or Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad were being dispatched to Chennai for talks with DMK Chief M Karunanidhi to sort out issues. "We will prefer to wait and watch," the sources said.

There is also a feeling in the party that the option of tying up with AIADMK appears to be limited because of the timing and also because she is considered a difficult ally.

The Congress leadership feels that DMK could come down from its position and that its decision could be only a posturing against the backdrop of difficulties the party was facing in view of the CBI investigations in the 2G spectrum scam in which the agency has already raided the premises of Kalaignar TV and could question Karunanidhi`s family members.