Congress-DMK tension deepens

Spectrum scam: For whom the bell tolls

Congress-DMK tension deepens

DMK’s A Raja, Union Telecom minister, is in the centre of a controversy over the allocation of 2G spectrum in which the Union government is said to have suffered losses anywhere between Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore.

While there is no official word from the DMK on the telecom scam and the CBI raids, party patriarch and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi is said to have conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh his resentment over the CBI raids.

The MP from the Nilgiris is among the powerful men from the DMK. A lawyer and a poet, the Dalit MP is seen to be close to the Karunanidhi family and the CM is said to have strongly defended Raja. He told the PM that the Congress had no objection to the spectrum allotment policy and even campaigned for Raja in the elections.

However, the PM may have seen the trouble coming and had strongly opposed Raja  —besides another DMK leader T R Baalu — being made ministers. While he succeeded in keeping Baalu out, he had to accommodate Raja. He opposed giving the telecom ministry to Raja but the DMK veteran stuck to his guns. The raids on several offices within the telecom ministry headquarters of Sanchar Bhavan and on premises of telecom companies and department officials in eight cities show the changing equations in UPA-II and the dominant presence the Congress enjoys in the coalition government. That the DMK depends on the Congress in TN is another factor for the Congress-led Union government to order the raids.

On his part, Raja has not only refused to step down but even brought the PM into the scam issue saying he kept Singh informed and proceeded as per his directions besides following the Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) guidelines in the spectrum policy.

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