Monday, February 14, 2011

2G scam: Cong, DMK ties strained

New Delhi, February 14, 2011 Utilities

The veil is up! Strains in the relationship between the Congress and the DMK are getting more and more visible following the 2G spectrum heat reaching Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi\'s doorsteps.

The political circles are abuzz with speculations that the Congress is exploring options minus the DMK for the state assembly elections, which are only about two months away.

This is again fuelled by rumours that the CBI could quiz Karunanidhi\'s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi for her alleged links in the 2G scandal. This could annoy the DMK patriarch even more.

This apart, the two allies were going through a trough over the past three months because of the resignation and arrest of A. Raja; the Congress usurping the ministry and giving it to Kapil Sibal; the CBI trailing Karunanidhi\'s family ( in December, the agency raided some firms linked to Karunanidhi\'s wife Rajathiammal); and Rahul Gandhi giving the cold shoulder to the DMK patriarch.

Another niggle has been non-inclusion of DMK ministers in the high- powered cabinet committee on economic affairs and the cabinet committee on infrastructure.

Fearing that he might pull the rug off the Congress\'s feet at the Centre, the Congress has begun moves to insulate the UPA government with support from the 22- member Samajwadi Party and other smaller parties.

The Congress also knows that Karunanidhi cannot immediately withdraw support to the UPA because he would like a friendly dispensation at the Centre. Even if he does, the DMK won\'t be able to find a strong ally. The BJP won\'t embrace Karunanidhi in a hurry considering its campaign against the DMK leadership over the 2G scam.

In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is in touch with the DMDK, the PMK, the Muslim League and other splinter parties for possible alliances.

Sources said cine actor and DMDK chief Vijayakant and the Congress brass have started back- channel contacts. Two years ago, Karunanidhi stopped the popular actor from joining the Congress.

A close relative of Vijayakant, who has been camping in Delhi, is understood to have met a top Congress leader to explore possibilities.

In the 2006 assembly elections, the DMDK polled 8.33 per cent votes ( more than that of the PMK) and in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, it secured a 10.9 per cent vote share. In the recent assembly byelections which was boycotted by the ADMK, the DMDK\'s vote share shot up to 23 per cent.

The Congress has been trying to rope him in, but Vijayakant has been resisting because he was not keen on any truck with the DMK- led front.

But a senior party leader denied any move to dump the DMK. Party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said a meeting with the DMK would be held after the Congress collected its feedback from its MPs, MLAs and former MPs.

Reading between the lines, a DMK source said: \" These are all ploys by the Congress to extract a large number of seats from the DMK and also to wangle an assurance that the Congress will be included in the DMKled government.\" When Karunanidhi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on January 31 to discuss the seat- sharing issue, they decided to set up two separate panels of five members each for negotiations.

The Congress panel, comprising home minister P. Chidambaram, shipping minister G. K. Vasan, Natarajan, TNCC president K. V. Thangkabalu and AICC secretary Jayakumar, met in Chennai for the first time on Sunday.

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