Former Union minister TR Baalu met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday as the suspense continued over MK Alagiri's reported "ultimatum" to his father Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi.
Alagiri, the union chemicals and fertilisers minister, has reportedly threatened to quit all posts if his half-sister Kanimozhi and disgraced former telecom minister A Raja were not stripped of all DMK posts.
Party sources feel the move is a pressure tactic to secure a senior position within the party, as he wants to return to the centrestage of state politics.
Baalu described his meeting with Gandhi as a "courtesy call" but DMK circles feel he was carrying a message from Karunanidhi regarding the May assembly polls.
He denied that Alagiri had submitted his resignation from the government or from the party's post, but DMK sources confirmed that Alagiri was "indeed upset" over the issue.
Karunanidhi, it is believed, has refused to accept Alagiri's demand that he stay away from the January 12 Chennai Sangamam, a cultural jamboree organised by Kanimozhi and Tamil Maiyam, the body raided by the CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.
Baalu, meanwhile, is looking forward to his induction as Cabinet minister to fill the slot vacated by Raja. He hopes to become shipping minister again whenever the PM undertakes a reshuffle, say DMK and Tamil Nadu Congress officials.
Baalu had failed to make it to the Union Cabinet after the 2009 polls.
Like Raja, Baalu is close to Kanimozhi's mother, Rajathi ammal.
With Raja's exit, Baalu thinks that Karunanidhi will persuade the PM to accept him as his record as Union minister was not as bad as Raja's even as he served the DMK's interests "pretty well" in the UPA-I.