CHENNAI: Upset with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s courtesy call to AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, the DMK is considering pulling out its ministers from the Union cabinet and provide only outside support to its long-time ally at the Centre.
An AIADMK statement on Saturday said Sonia had called Jaya to convey her ”best wishes” on her electoral success.
DMK seniors, including party chief M Karunanidhi, have held informal discussions for two days since Saturday and probed the option of providing outside support to Congress. While Sonia’s greetings to Jayalalithaa may be perceived by some as mere courtesy, in Tamil Nadu political opponents are not known to exchange such pleasantries. The Sonia-Jaya telephone conversation is seen as a needless provocation by DMK which is sore about the perceived apathy of the Congress in the wake of CBI action against Karunanidhi’s family members.
A section within the DMK, however, cautioned restraint, pointing out that with the party now out of power, it should not lose its clout at the Centre as well. DMK has six Union ministers, including two Cabinet ministers M K Alagiri and Dayanidhi Maran. Pulling them out would leave the DMK with no political capital at a time when the party has suffered a major rout in the assembly elections. ”Until the next Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the party should focus on rebuilding its image and strengthening relations with political allies,” some senior leaders told Karunanidhi.
The mood in the DMK camp, grim since its disastrous performance, plunged further after news of Sonia’s call on Saturday. ”Thalaivar (leader) expressed reservations about Sonia’s call to Jayalalithaa. We can understand his feelings. We didn’t mind the Prime Minister calling the AIADMK leader. But the political implication of Sonia calling her is different. They have never shared a good relationship. We believe Congress is now opening doors to the AIADMK.
In our opinion, they seem to be planning for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” a former minister told TOI.
Congress spokeswoman Jayanti Natarajan said the AICC president also congratulated leaders of other parties who won state elections along with Jayalalithaa. ”In a democracy, it is a healthy trend,” she told the media in Delhi. On reports that Sonia had invited Jayalalithaa for tea to Delhi, she said, ”I have no idea, I have no information.”