Rahul Gandhi’s visit to ailing Jayalalitha has not gone down well with the DMK, Congress’ ally in Tamil Nadu. With the situation deteriorating in the state due to ongoing Cauvery water dispute and Amma being in the hospital for over a month now, sources in Congress said that Rahul’s trip was meant to send a political message to both DMK and AIADMK.
PCC chief S Thirunavukkarasar in a conversation with The Indian Express said, “Rahul’s visit upheld the tradition of the Nehru family and the Congress. It was a courtesy shown to a senior leader who fell ill.”
Thirunavukkarasar added that Rahul did not call on DMK head M Karunanidhi in Chennai. Sources in the DMK were upset; they said Rahul had never offered such courtesies to the DMK chief in the past either. DMK leaders said Rahul’s move has surprised them and warned that their ties could be the casualty.
A Congress leader talking about the visit Congress-DMK alliance said, “the alliance is not working at ground level but we are still together reluctantly. It is not that we are going to break with the DMK tomorrow and join hands with the AIADMK the day after, but the equations are changing.”
Going down the memory lane, one can spot that DMK-congress relations have been strained since 2013. They fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls separately; in the assembly polls, the DMK gave the Congress just 41 seats. Now the seat share in the local body elections has upset the Congress further. Moreover, when DMK supremo asked for photographs of Jayalalitha in the hospital, Congress refrained from supporting this demand.
When asked whether Congress was moving towards an alliance with AIADMK, Thirunavukkarasar dismissed the suggestions saying, “That question doesn’t arise now when the AIADMK has a strong majority.”