Saturday, May 14, 2011

Congress unlikely to part ways with DMK

The current mood in the Congress is not to dump the ally DMK against the backdrop of the latter's drubbing in the Tamil Nadu Assembly poll and the 2G spectrum scam.
Responding to the questions whether the DMK is now a liability or asset for the Congress, senior leader and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said the alliance partners are not liabilities for the Congress but friends and assets. He said the DMK is a coalition partner of the UPA government at the Centre since 2009 and continues to remain so.

Asked whether the 2G scam had any impact on the election results, he agreed corruption as an issue might have had its impact on the minds of people. But he, at the same time, said that when national parties participate in elections, they fight on broad national policies.

The DMK has 18 members in the Lok Sabha which is second largest party in the UPA after the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress (19 members in the Lower House). The government managers and the Congress strategists are not keen to ally with the AIADMK (9MPs) by dumping the DMK mainly because they don't want to rely on Ms Jayalalithaa.

The DMK is not in a dictating position and thus cannot open a battle on many fronts simultaneously in the absence of an alternative. Also the corruption cases against the DMK leaders, including members of its first family, will compel the Dravadian party to depend on the Congress for the survival, it cannot even go back to the NDA until its leaders are cleared from the charges.

According to a section of the Congress, the DMK will have better prospects than the AIADMK. This is because the electoral defeat would end the fights in the Karunanidhi family.

Party insiders said the former deputy chief minister M.K. Stalin, who is seen as a heir apparent of M. Karunanidhi could consolidate his position and the party in the next three years. But the AIADMK would face the leadership issue if Ms Jayalalithaa does not identify her political successor in the coming years.

The AIADMK cannot afford to confront with the Centre after coming to power. Like the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, the two Dravadian parties would have to back the Manmohan Singh government for obvious reasons.

Though the DMK's defeat would give the Congress enough time to rebuild the party in Tamil Nadu, insiders are blaming some senior leaders from the state for the Congress' dismal performance in the Assembly poll.

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