The strain in Congress-DMK ties brought on by the 2G spectrum scam came to the fore when Rahul Gandhi arrived in the Tamil Nadu capital on Wednesday.
Meeting with Youth Congress members, the AICC general secretary, in a mood assessment test, asked all those who didn't want the alliance with the DMK to continue to raise their hands. A staggering 80% did.
Rahul also did not make a courtesy call on DMK patriarch and chief minister M Karunanidhi.
He had done the same on his previous visit last year. However, he didn't make any comment on either the alliance or the spectrum scam that saw the DMK's A Raja step down as telecom minister.
Instead, Rahul's focus was the revival of the Congress in the state, where the all-important assembly elections and the panchayat elections are due next year.
"It's been 40 years since the Congress came to power here and it will take a lot of hard work and time to bring it back to where it belongs," Rahul said, adding: "I assure you, in the coming future, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu is going to be one among the Youth Congress."
Calling Tamil Nadu one of the success stories of Youth Congress election experiments, he told the cadre: "Assembly elections are important, but more crucial to build the party are panchayat elections. I urge you to participate in maximum panchayat seats and win maximum number of them."
"We've been told by the leadership it's too early to decide on the alliance. Whoever it is, our job is to ensure the party performs well in elections," said James G Prakash, south Chennai district Youth Congress president.