Even as the 25-month-old United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II government dumped Dayanidhi Maran, the second minister from the DMK for involvement in the 2G spectrum scam, the ruling coalition isn't inclined to part ways with the Dravidian party, Congress insiders said on Thursday.
"The question was whether DMK with 18 Lok Sabha members is an asset or liability to the UPA. The UPA still feels the party is an asset. But the alliance wanted to dump some of the tainted DMK ministers like (communications minister) A Raja and (textile minister) Dayanidhi Maran," a party leader, who declined to be identified, told IANS.
With the UPA having only 262 Lok Sabha members in the 545-member parliament, the party cannot afford to lose a "valuable partner" he added.
"Other options of bringing in the four-member Rashtriya Janata Dal, or the 21-member Samajwadi Party into the cabinet will have their own deficiencies. Nor is their record far better than the DMK," he added.
For the record, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari, said: "The party is in alliance with DMK since 2004. The situation remains the same. Political alliances are based on the appreciation of the ground situation."
Party circles pointed out there have been opposition allegations against several other ministers including MS Gill, Murli Deora, Sharad Pawar and Jaipal Reddy.
"The prime minister or the Congress cannot act as per the list provided by the opposition. But a judicial cognizance as it happened with Maran is different," said a leader.
DMK sources also told IANS that there was no pressure on the party to leave the UPA.
According to a Congress leader, the UPA cannot admit a charge that the entire DMK is corrupt.
"That will be walking to a opposition trap of admitting the allegation of the most corrupt government in the country."
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh plans a cabinet reshuffle, likely within a week, the buzz is that former minister and DMK MP TR Baalu is making a comeback in place of Maran.
Some new DMK nominees are also likely to join the cabinet.
"It will be a weak DMK, which was humbled in the assembly polls, adjusting to the demands of the Congress leadership to give a new look to the government," a Congress leader said.