Congress leaders are hoping the DMK will change Union minister TR Baalu so they can insulate the PMO from the controversy over the letters for gas supply to companies owned by his son.
Privately, AICC sources recalled the Congress had dropped Natwar Singh from the Cabinet over his alleged involvement in the food-for-oil scam.
“The issue of dropping Baalu is an intra-DMK affair and not between the Congress and DMK,” said a functionary acknowledging that compulsions of coalition politics make it difficult for the party to act, specially with Lok Sabha polls just a year away.
Given this, the Congress is keeping its fingers crossed, hoping the controversy will blow over in a couple of days, as the budget session gets over early next month and leaders get busy with the Karnataka polls. The PMO itself may come out with a clarification to douse the controversy.
Meanwhile, Parliament erupted yet again on the issue. Shortly after Lok Sabha assembled, BJP, JD-U and MDMK members started shouting slogans demanding Baalu’s dismissal and for saving the “PMO from malpractices”. Treasury bench members retaliated by alleging “misuse” of PMO during the NDA regime. NDA MPs later staged a walkout. In Rajya Sabha, the BJP’s Jaswant Singh said the PM should clarify in the House, following which Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said a “response will come later”.