DMK chief MK Stalin today said that he "doesn't see a chance" for a Third Front, in a setback for Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao who has been exploring the possibility of a non-BJP, non-Congress arrangement at the centre after the national elections. Mr Stalin, who met Mr Rao - or KCR as he is popularly known - yesterday, described the meeting as a "courtesy call", saying alliances weren't discussed at the meeting.
"It doesn't seem to me that there is a chance for that (Third Front)... However, that will be decided only after counting on May 23," the DMK chief said at the Chennai airport today.
"He (KCR) did not come to form alliances. He came to Tamil Nadu to offer prayers in various temples and on that basis, sought an appointment with me for a courtesy call. That is all," he said.
The DMK chief has maintained that he is committed to the alliance with the Congress and has twice suggested the name of Rahul Gandhi for the post of prime minister in the last few months.
"Our leader was firm Rahul Gandhi who he proposed to be the PM candidate has to become the Prime Minister. He impressed upon Mr KCR to strengthen the UPA," DMK Spokesperson A Saravanan had told NDTV after yesterday's meeting. There was no word from the KCR camp on the meeting.
KCR, who has been at the forefront of "Third Front" moves over the past year, has made a fresh push to rally regional parties in recent weeks, in an attempt to create a powerful bloc that could play a critical role in government formation in case of a split verdict.
The Telangana Chief Minister has already reached out to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. He also has the promise of support from Jaganmohan Reddy, chief of the opposition YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh.
Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha seats. Telangana, where Mr Rao won a landslide victory last year, has 17 seats, neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has 25 seats. Kerala has 20 seats and Karnataka 28. Together, they add up to 129 seats.
But sources say KCR's perceived closeness to the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi "has dented his credibility" among regional parties.
KCR had met Stalin last year but months later, the DMK chief tied up with the Congress for the national election as part of a mega coalition that also includes the Left.