It’s not just about disgraced telecom minister A Raja any more. Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi found himself cornered politically as the CBI raids in connection with the 2G spectrum scam came closer to his family on Wednesday.
Senior DMK leaders were in a tizzy, unable to fathom the immediate impact of the raids on people very close to Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and his second wife, Rajathi.
But one thing was clear. The DMK’s ties with the Congress were under strain. Confusion gripped the DMK’s leaders as well as its cadres about what the future holds for the party.
“It’s Karunanidhi’s family (that is involved) and he will have to decide how to salvage the situation, with assembly elections in the state just four months away," said a DMK leader not wishing to be named.
“Kanimozhi is just not another MP like Raja who can be dispensed with. If the CBI has zeroed in on her NGO or her mother’s auditors and accountants, the noose is not far (from Kanimozhi),” said another leader.
DMK leaders admitted that Wednesday’s raids had dashed Karunanidhi’s trust in the Congress. They said was an understanding that the scam would be “capped”, first, with Raja resigning from the union cabinet, and second, with the CBI and Enforcement Directorate targeting Raja only.
But will Karunanidhi take the first step to snap ties with the Congress to express his anger over the CBI raids on people close to his family? Or will the Congress high command take the first decision to walk out on the alliance?
Indications are that both sides will play a waiting game. The Congress refrained from commenting on the raids. “We don’t comment on our allies. We trust our allies. The trust is mutual,” Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi said.
As both parties depend on each other at the Centre and in Tamil Nadu, the Congress is likely to exercise caution in maintaining the alliance. Karunanidhi, 85, is not in a position to decide either way. His party, which has 95 MLAs in the 235-member assembly (the majority mark being 118), depends on the 35 Congress MLAs to prop up his government.
Right now the two main options before him are tough: one, to part company with the Congress and see his government fall before the assembly elections, and two, to wait and watch as his near ones get sucked into the whirlpool of the spectrum scam.