IT WOULD be hard to imagine an odder couple than a pro-democracy Governor and a pro-Beijing political party committed to overturning his policies. Yet, despite the strangeness of the match, Mr Chris Patten and his administration's curious love affair for the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hongkong (DAB) shows no sign of abating. The Governor and his aides have been heard to frequently praise the 10-month-old political party in private, describing its members as people they ''can do business with''. Indeed, Mr Patten told Hongkong and Macau Affairs Office chief Mr Lu Ping of his affection for the group during last October's disastrous visit to Beijing. He even compares his leftist critics favourably with former leading members of the colonial establishment, such as Mr Allen Lee Peng-fei and his Liberal Party colleagues, who Mr Patten has made plain he sees as little more than chameleons, switching backand forth between Britain and Beijing in search of patronage. By contrast, the Governor and his team see the DAB as sincere in its beliefs. ''They're well-educated people who've spent a large amount of their life promoting a cause they genuinely believe in,'' said one senior official. ''We may not agree with everything they say, but we find them very sensible and practical people.'' And the DAB also serves a practical purpose. For it fulfils the Government's wish to see an avowedly pro-China group fighting - and hopefully winning - elections in Hongkong, something which will provide a far better guarantee of free and fair polls after 1997 than any Sino-British agreement on the issue. Senior officials note two leading DAB members stood in the maiden direct-elections to the Legislative Council, in marked contrast to how those such as Mr Lee and Mrs Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee dodged thechance to face Hongkong's voters. Although both educator Mr Cheng Kai-nam and unionist Ms Chan Yuen-han were defeated, they garnered a substantial number of votes and are widely expected to stand a better chance under almost any of the electoral systems likely to be used in 1995. Indeed, since October's policy address, the administration has been falling over itself in a vain attempt to persuade the DAB that it would benefit from the Patten package, with officials saying leftists could expect to win several more seats. But such suggestions are given short shrift by the group, which knows it stands to benefit more under any system proposed by Beijing, and whose leading members remain privately pessimistic about their prospects in 1995, as long as most of the public retain their hostility to the mainland regime. Yet, even if the Government is unable to enlist the DAB's support on this front, it has become clear over the past few weeks that Mr Patten and his team still believe the leftists can help them in another way, by putting forward proposals that can serve as the basis for Sino-British compromises on electoral arrangements. LONG before the group unveiled its blueprint for the 1995 polls last week, the administration had privately welcomed what it believed to be two key elements of it, thinking they offered ways of resolving the contentious issues of the through train and the Election Committee. For in the sometimes simplistic world of China-watching at Government House, it is all too easy to believe that proposals put forward by Hongkong leftists also represent Beijing's bottom-line during the current negotiations. In reality, that is far from the case, with the saga of the DAB's electoral proposals serving to illustrate the dangers for both sides of any such love affair. Chairman Mr Tsang Yok-sing said recently he feared some were stirring up trouble by misinterpreting the group's stance, a prediction borne out by the events of last week. For the Government's enthusiasm for some of the DAB's proposals turned out to have been a touch premature, when it emerged the group's idea for the Election Committee felt short of the fully elected model officials had hoped for, while a suggested solution to the through train dispute was scant on details. A shadow was also cast over events by the DAB's highly undemocratic proposal to ask Legco candidates to draw lots in 1995, so as to limit the number of foreign passport holders elected. Reports yesterday that China favours a different voting system from the one proposed by the DAB, only reinforces the fact the administration is treading a perilous path in using the group as an intermediary in its dealings with Beijing. But there are dangers too for the DAB. While the administration's affection may not be of its own making, that is not necessarily how it looks in the Chinese capital. In the never-ending struggle between local leftists to see who can secure the most influence in Beijing, hardliners such as Mr Lo Tak-shing and Ms Liu Yiu-chu will certainly be able to use Mr Patten's praise to improve their standing with Chinese leadersat the expense of the DAB. One leading DAB member last week suggested the Governor's blessing would prove to be the ''kiss of death'' for his aspiring political party. And while that may yet turn out to be an exaggeration, there can be little doubt the Government's love affair for the group will be causing more problems for both sides in the months to come.