DMK, Congress to untie the knot?
By Annie Banerji
Cast as the villain in high profile graft cases and reeling from its huge loss in the Tamil Nadu state elections in May, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) appears to be in freefall.
The party has declared an emergency meeting in the state capital to discuss potential strategies regarding the recently incarcerated daughter of the DMK chief, Kanimozhi and the party’s strained ties with the ruling Congress party, itself struggling to shake off its scam-ridden identity and public resentment for its lack of initiative and inability to tackle corruption.
Controversy has been hovering over the DMK since last year when A. Raja, a key member of the party and then Telecoms Minister, was accused of spectrum allocation at discounted prices causing a loss of $39 billion to the national exchequer.
A. Raja’s case has caused a domino effect within the Karunanidhi family, with the former Tamil Nadu chief minister’s grandnephew, Dayanidhi Maran, also under investigation for alleged misdeeds in the purview of the 2G spectrum allocation scam, regarded as the largest graft case in India.
In May, the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court ordered the arrest of Kanimozhi for handling a 2 billion rupee bribe.
Maran, who served as the telecom minister from 2004-2007, is now under the scanner for his alleged role in the two-year delay in issuing Aircel company’s applications for a mobile permit. “I vouch that during my tenure as minister of communications and IT (information technology), I was totally impartial in taking decisions,” he said, but the national auditor seems to be indicating the contrary, claiming that the minister revised the terms of reference minus the pricing.
Not only are the left and opposition parties mounting pressure on the minister for his resignation, but the Congress and DMK refuse to defend him, which make the intra-family bitterness more palpable than ever.
“Maran had said that he himself would prove his innocence. He will take the necessary course of action. I do not have anything more to add to this,” said Karunanidhi when asked about his grandnephew’s situation.
English daily Mail Today on Thursday reported that Karunanidhi may discuss and consider parting ways with Congress, terminating the seven-year alliance in the meeting scheduled on June 10.
Perhaps this deliberation by the DMK comes due to Congress’s lack of support to Kanimozhi, who is also a member of parliament. It appears that with or without the Congress, the DMK has already ensconced itself in a web of controversies.