On the first day after he resigned as telecom minister, A Raja had a relatively quiet day — compared to the last three years when he ran the high-profile ministry.
There was no queue of industrialists or businesspeople at his 2A Motilal Nehru Marg residence, as he remained closeted with DMK MPs and leaders including ex-Union minister T R Baalu. Other visitors were his legal friends.
A surprise visitor was his rival, textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, who was his predecessor and had to make way for Raja because of a feud in Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi’s family.
A “depressed” Raja cleared a document that was supposed to hit out at his predecessors including Dayanidhi Maran and Arun Shourie for alloting 150 Mhz of additional spectrum beyond 4.4 Mhz, and up to 6.2 Mhz without any upfront charge. Titled “Kissa Spectrum Ka”, the document says that another 90 Mhz of spectrum was distributed among the handful of operators beyond 6.2 Mhz again without any upfront charges, benefiting private players.
As the day wore on, Raja was “disturbed” by reports of violence by his supporters in Nilgiris, which he represents in the Lok Sabha and his home constituency of Perambalur. “Have you gone mad?” he was quoted by his aides as asking a party activist over the phone. “Our party is running the government. Any trouble will go against us. Show restraint.”
A few friends of Raja wanted to know when he was asked by Karunanidhi to put in his papers— because he had put up stout resistance all along and even when he boarded the flight in Chennai for Delhi on Sunday.
“I was told to resign as soon as I landed here,” Raja said. He got a call when he was out of Delhi airport, presumably from the DMK chief, directing him to resign. He reached home, wrote his resignation letter and headed to the PM’s residence.