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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Internal politics forced DMK hand on retail decision

Shekhar Iyer and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 28, 2012
First Published: 23:09 IST(28/11/2012) | Last Updated: 23:11 IST(28/11/2012)

The DMK's last-minute U-turn on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail has more to do with internal politics than coalition compulsions.

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The long-standing feud had even kept the DMK, the second-largest UPA constituent with 18 Lok Sabha MPs, away from the last month's Union cabinet reshuffle. Initially, the southern party had sought replacements for A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, who had to resign in the wake of the 2G spectrum scam. But it dropped the demand at the last moment, following bickering in the party's first family.

For his part, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi has been trying to do a fine balancing act, and supporting the Congress on the FDI issue after publicly threatening to vote against the government in Parliament is part of his efforts to end the discord in his family.

Ensuring that his daughter, Kanimozhi, is re-elected to the Rajya Sabha once her term expires in July next year happens to be one of the DMK chief's main concerns. The DMK has 23 legislators in the 235-member Tamil Nadu assembly, and would require the support of Congress - which has five MLAs - as well as other parties to gather the 34 votes required for her re-election.

Karunanidhi's hopes to rope in the DMDK - with 29 MLAs - have been belied because its chief, Vijayakanth, is keen on bringing his brother-in-law, LK Sudhish, to the upper house with the CPM's help.

Karunanidhi has also minced no words while voicing his concerns on the 2G spectrum case, in which Kanimozhi and Raja are two of the main accused.

Given the political compulsions back home, especially with the ruling AIADMK consolidating its position, Karunanidhi has no option but to go with the Congress despite the blow-hot blow-cold relations.

The DMK chief, who had strongly raised the concerns of Nadars on the FDI issue, even chose to ignore the consequences of going with the UPA on the matter. Nadars, a powerful trading community, constitute about 12% votes in Tamil Nadu.


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