The Congress may not be ready to jettison the DMK as yet. It has begin to realize that it would not be prudent to push the second largest alliance partner out just because it has lost the Tamil Nadu elections.
Hitherto, the Congress managers used to say they weren’t bothered about the DMK because it was engulfed in the 2G spectrum scandal and needed the UPA government’s blessings to stay out of further trouble.
They used to count on the Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s 22 MPs and the Samajwadi Party’s 21 MPs to bail out the UPA if the numbers fell short in Parliament in the event of the DMK walking out of the coalition.
But with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi adopting an aggressive course against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati on the farmers agitation issue, Congress strategists are changing their approach.
As a balmy touch, Home Minister P Chidambaram paid a courtesy call on the DMK patriarch on Monday after his very emotional meeting with his jailed daughter Kanimozhi.
Being the first senior Congress leader to call on Karunanidhi, Chidambaram’s meeting with him was seen as a signal from the Congress to the DMK family to convey that it was with him at this juncture.
Many DMK MPs had been very upset with the Congress since the arrest of Kanimozhi and Karunanidhi had himself felt very angry with the turn of events.
Karunanidhi’s visit this time to Delhi was in sharp contrast to his earlier visits to Delhi, which were packed with appointments with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders.
But after losing the Tamil Nadu assembly polls and with his family embroiled in the 2G spectrum scam, Karunanidhi never looked so helpless.
Taj Mahal Hotel on Delhi’s Mansingh Road, which has played host for Karunanidhi in 2004 when the UPA-1 was formed, had seen Congress chief Sonia Gandhi call on him. Even Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, who came to the hotel, did not think of saying hi to him.
But the arrival of Chidambaram, who is also senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu, to meet Karunandhi changed the mood of DMK leaders, who were upset with the government and the Congress over the CBI investigation.
Earlier, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh celebrated the anniversary of UPA-2 with a dinner at his house, the Congress had sought to mend the sulking mood of its second largest ally.
Though DMK ministers skipped the dinner, DMK’s representative, T R Baalu, was made to sit next to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the stage when the PM released a report card and later at the dinner table. Baalu was seen exchanging notes with Sonia Gandhi. (end)