The Congress threw its weight behind the DMK and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heard MDMK leader Vaiko and the DMK leader and Union Minister TR Baalu separately on the war of words between the MDMK and the DMK over the alleged moves to split the MDMK.
Vaiko, who is facing an imminent split in his party, accused Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran of being instrumental in the revolt in his party led by two senior leaders, L Ganesan and Gingee N Ramachandran, both MPs.
Transport Minister TR Baalu met the PM to counter Vaiko's accusation, following which the AICC issued a statement by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily who is in charge of Tamil Nadu affairs, in support of Karunanidhi.
Baalu is understood to have briefed the PM about an interview given by Vaiko to the Tamil bi-weekly, Junior Vikatan, that the PM and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had disapproved the DMK's "role" in fomenting trouble in Vaiko's party.
In Chennai, the Tamil Nadu government filed a defamation suit against Vaiko for certain remarks which allegedly caused irreparable damage to the reputation of Karunanidhi, besides mental agony to him.
Moily described as incorrect the magazine report that Sonia Gandhi had warned M Karunanidhi against "capturing the MDMK party office here."
"The Congress reiterates the fact that the alliance of DPA under the leadership of Karunanidhi is strong and no misgivings can deter the DPA and its strength," he said.
The Tamil magazine had quoted Vaiko as saying that he had come to know through a PM's aide that the PM and Sonia Gandhi had described the DMK's alleged role against his party as "unbearable and uncivilised" after he wrote to them alleging that Karunanidhi was bent on splitting his party.
Moily said, "The Congress reiterates the fact that the alliance of DPA under the leadership of Karunanidhi is strong and no misgivings can deter the DPA and its strength." Vaiko, however, refused to say anything about what transpired during his meeting with the PM. He simply said he discussed the political situation in Tamil Nadu.
MDMK sources said Vaiko told the PM that the DMK has spent more than Rs 30 crore in "wooing' two MPs from MDMK. He also thanked the PM for meeting the Tamil MPs from Sri Lanka.
Both the rebel MDMK leaders have challenged Vaiko's authority to remove them from their posts. Ganesan and Ramachandran have convened an 'urgent' general council meeting of the party at Salem on Friday to formalise the split in the party.