Cong bid to mollify DMK falls flat

The Congress high command’s bid to yet again mollify DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in the run-up to Parliament’s winter session, after his demand to the Centre on the Sri Lankan Tamils and other issues, seemed to have made little headway after senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu and Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram met him here on Monday.

The DMK leader on Sunday had made a veiled threat to the UPA regime that unless the Centre backed the regional ally’s demand for moving the UN to press for a ‘referendum’ to find a permanent political solution to the Tamils ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka, the UPA could not expect the DMK to “stand firmly by it”.

Chidambaram calling on him at his Gopalapuram residence was seen as Congress re-engaging the DMK in a bid to pacify its ally. However, Chidambaram, in a brief chat with reporters here, when asked whether latest irritants like the DMK-TESO conference resolutions on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue vis-à-vis the Central Government had come up in their talks, said, “no particular subject was discussed; generally we spoke about what is happening.” The Finance Minister said it was basically a courtesy call and that he had come down to Chennai to wish Karunanidhi for ‘Deepavali’.

Karunanidhi’s remarks on the meeting, hinted that there was still some ironing out of differences between DMK and Congress to be done. “Chidambaram came to wish me for Deepavali for he celebrates the festival; but I do not celebrate Deepavali. Only ‘Pongal’ is the festival of the Tamils,” the DMK chief quipped, indicating that there was still ground to be covered in straightening out ties between the two parties.

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