DMK not to pull out ministers from Centre

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 12 2011, 02:12am hrs
In the end, the embattled Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) decided that it would not be withdrawing its ministers from the UPA government at the Centre, despite party chief M Karunanidhis daughter Kanimozhi being incarcerated and a controversy over textile minister Dayanidhi Maran. The DMK has six ministers at the Centre and with 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, is crucial for the survival of the UPA government.

Significantly, Maran appeared to be isolated within the party, with Karunanidhi saying, Dayanidhi Maran will be answering all questions related to his role in the Aircel-Maxis deal himself. Maran has increasingly come under a cloud over his alleged role in the Aircel-Maxis deal that is being probed by the CBI. At an emergency meeting called by the party chief in Chennai, pragmatic considerations seemed to have prevailed despite Karunanidhis very obvious distress at his daughters continued stay in Delhis Tihar Jail.

The meeting was attended by Karunanidhis sons, chemicals and fertillisers minister MK Alagiri and former Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister MK Stalin, apart from other senior leaders. In a resolution passed by the party, it stated that the DMK would fight the 2G spectrum case legally and alleged that the CBI was employing double standards in prosecuting the case. The resolution also said that the R230-crore loan extended by DB Realty to Kaliagnar TV was indeed a loan and not a kickback.

Congress managers in Delhi heaved a sigh of relief at the resolution. With even outside support of the DMK, we would be a shaky government. This reinforces the stability of the Centre, said a senior Congress office-bearer associated with the southern state. As numbers go, the stack-up would have been particularly doubtful.

Without the DMK, the number would be 259 MPs in the Lok Sabha. We cannot count on the SP (Samajwadi Party) and the BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) because the Uttar Pradesh elections are due in 2012. If we get (J) Jayalalithaa (the AIADMK chief) on our side, the DMK wont even support the government from outside, and she has only nine MPs in the Lok Sabha, said the leader.

In all, it was a happy outcome for the Congress, while the DMKs decision reflected the only choice it could have made at this time. The Supreme Court is running the 2G investigations, and the party is not in power in Chennai. Thus, its bargaining power is severely diminished, said a source in the party.

There is a wish to act but not the will, said another leader.

The next decision will need to be taken on Marans possible exit from the Cabinet. The DMK seems to have decided that ball is in the Congress court on that.