'Strained' Congress-DMK relations to continue

'Strained' Congress-DMK relations to continue

Dayanidhi MaranTheory of “compromises” and “limitations in coalition politics” given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the wake of 2G spectrum scam with strong TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor added to it defines the relation between Congress and DMK, two main components of ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at Centre.

Arrest of DMK leader and former Telecom minister A Raja in 2G scam, drubbing of Congress-DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu Assembly polls followed by the arrest of Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP and daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, have strained relations between the two allies. However, both Congress and DMK have no choice other then to continue being alliance partners of the ruling coalition at the Centre. This political compulsion manifests itself in the reiterations made by both the parties in their official stand terming the alliance as “intact”.

Continuity of the alliance will not be a silky affair and this can be seen when a ‘helpless’ Karunanidhi after the arrest of his daughter asked party cadres to “shun bad friend” (Congress) on his 88th birthday on June 5 last. Sentiments in the Congress were expressed in the editorial of the June issue of its mouthpiece ‘Sandesh’, where the party virtually blamed the DMK for the rout in the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Assembly elections.

“The results in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were affected by the 2G scam and these states were lost to other parties,” the editorial in the latest issue of ‘Sandesh' said. The article also urged the party to look beyond DMK “to regain its old glory and be in a position to be in power by itself”.

However, realising the delicate balance of UPA maintained at the Centre where 18 MPs come from DMK, Congress party distanced itself from views expressed in the mouthpiece terming them as “personal” of the writer and not of the party.

‘No option’

On the other hand, DMK chief Karunanidhi at a party meeting in Chennai on June 10 announced that “there was no problem with the Congress” and that the party will not pull out of UPA countering the speculations doing the round after the arrest of Kanimozhi, named as co-conspirator in 2G scam by CBI. The statement was that of an “upset” father realising the political situation at a time when his party has been thown out of power in Tamil Nadu for next five years by staunch rival AIADMK. Continuing support to UPA will give DMK a share in power at the Centre for next three years.

So, the statements made by both Congress and DMK defines the status and future of their relationship as described by political analyst Mahesh Rangarajan that “both the parties have no option than to continue the strained relationship at least till 2014 Lok Sabha polls”.

Amid the continuing ‘strained’ relationship between the two coalition partners, there has been speculation that Congress can pull in support of Samajwadi Party having 22 MPs or Bahujan Samaj Party with 20 Lok Sabha members to drop DMK after being cornered by the Opposition and civil society members in the wake of series of scams involving leaders from its south Indian ally.

However, according to observers, Congress looking for its revival in the Hindi heartland would not like to align with either of the two parties keeping in mind the scheduled 2012 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Also, aware of ambitious “Mission 2012” for UP of party’s heir apparent - Rahul Gandhi - Congress would not like to take any adventurous decision.

Knowing the importance of number of DMK MPs in Lok Sabha, Congress has also not responded to the feelers sent by AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha after her return to power in Tamil Nadu. After party chief Sonia Gandhi's post-poll congratulatory call to Jayalalitha, Congress has been careful not to suggest any rethink of ties with DMK. Congress is aware of the fact that dumping DMK for AIADMK which has just nine MPs can disturb the ethereal balance of the UPA at the Centre.

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