Sonia, Naidu to share stage at DMK event

Sonia, Naidu to share stage at DMK event

Sonia Gandhi. PTI

Efforts by the Opposition to build a larger coalition against the BJP would receive further boost when UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu will share a dais at an event to unveil the statue of the late DMK president M Karunanidhi in Chennai on December 16.

Sonia and Naidu are expected to give a clarion call to the Opposition parties to come together to take on the BJP in the 2019 general elections.

The two leaders, who had been on different sides of the political spectrum for decades together, have never shared a stage except for a brief appearance at the swearing-in ceremony of H D Kumaraswamy as Karnataka's chief minister in May this year.

They did not make a joint appearance even in Telangana where the two parties fought the elections together.

Sources in the DMK say that the Sunday's event will give a much-needed impetus to the anti-BJP group, especially in the wake of the Congress’ victory march in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

With the Congress-TDP alliance failing in Telangana, the presence of Sonia and Naidu at the event will send out a signal that the two parties will continue to work with each other to dislodge the BJP at the Centre.

Besides Sonia and Naidu, chief ministers of Kerala and Puducherry— Pinnarayi Vijayan and V Narayanasamy— will also attend the event at the DMK headquarters in Chennai.

Karunanidhi died on August 7 at the age of 94 in Chennai and the DMK has been conducting several commemorative events in his honour.

The DMK wants to send out a strong political message from Chennai as it eyes a major role in the formation of the next government and has already cemented its ties with the Congress by confirming an alliance for the polls due in May next year.

The DMK was the harbinger of the UPA-I government after the party-led alliance in Tamil Nadu swept the elections in 2004 by winning all 40 seats in the state and the neighbouring Puducherry.

R S Bharathi, DMK organising secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, told DH that the Sunday’s ceremony will have a great significance in national politics.

“The Sunday's event was originally planned to be unveiling of our late leader Kalaignar’s (Karunanidhi’s) statue. But with the Congress scoring a massive victory, this will be turned into a celebratory meeting for the Opposition parties. Since Madam Sonia will grace the event, it will attain national importance,” he said.