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No thank you, Cong to Jaya

delhi Updated: Nov 12, 2010 00:53 IST
Saroj Nagi
Saroj Nagi
Hindustan Times
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The Raja episode may have led to disruptions in Parliament and embarrassed the Congress but the party continues to keep its faith in its ally, the DMK. Given the AIADMK's past record, it sees J Jayalalithaa as a whimsical partner.

On Thursday, the Congress did not take long to dismiss AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa's offer to back the UPA if it dumped DMK member and telecom minister A Raja whose role in the telecom scandal has put the central government on the mat.

"There is no vacancy in Tamil Nadu,'' was Union minister and Tamil Nadu in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad's reaction.

"It may be her feelings. But we have nothing to comment… It is very clear that the DMK is our very important alliance partner,'' said general secretary Janardan Dwivedi.

While the combination of backwards, Dalits and Muslims in the DMK-Congress alliance is formidable, privately Congressmen maintain their party is not in the habit of leaving allies.

Then why did Jayalalithaa make the offer? "Politics is a game of possibilities and she was probing the possibilities,'' said a Congress leader. Jayalalithaa was using the Raja episode to drive a wedge in the UPA at the Centre and DMK-Congress combine in Tamil Nadu.

And though Jayalalithaa wants the past erased, Congress leaders cannot forget she had raised the foreign origin issue and refused to back Sonia Gandhi as prime minister in 1999. The DMK, on the other hand, has been a reliable partner, they believe.

The AIADMK leader's offer on Thursday is neither the first nor the last as the Congress-DMK alliance holds. More so, as after her setbacks in two Lok Sabha and two assembly polls, she will fight a desperate battle to dislodge Karunanidhi in the May 2011 assembly polls.

Already the attempt is on to play on the disaffection in a section of the Congress at the alliance with the DMK where the party is not part of the state government.

Though the Congress appears reluctant to act against Raja, it would like the DMK to withdraw him from the cabinet. "Had he been in our party, he would have gone by now," said one leader. However, Dwivedi said: "The concerned minister is not from our party. He is a member of our alliance partner. It is for that party to decide."