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Distraught father calls high level meet

If last Friday it was the crushing defeat that sent fomer chief minister M Karunanidhi into a shell, this Friday he was completely shattered as a pall of gloom descended over his Gopalapuram residence of former chief minister M Karuanidhi and the upmarket CIT colony residence of Rajathi Ammal where she and daughter Kanimozhi live.

india Updated: May 20, 2011 19:06 IST
K V Lakshmana

If last Friday it was the crushing defeat that sent fomer chief minister M Karunanidhi into a shell, this Friday he was completely shattered as a pall of gloom descended over his Gopalapuram residence of former chief minister M Karuanidhi and the upmarket CIT colony residence of Rajathi Ammal where she and daughter Kanimozhi live.

On Friday afternoon, the countless DMK cadres and fawning party workers were missing from CIT colony, where Karunanidhi stationed himself as television channels began beaming the news of rejection of bail to his daughter Kanimozhi and about to be transported to high security Tihar central jail.

A distraught Karunanidhi came out of the CIT colony residence to face the battery of media persons to tell that the party's high level meeting would be convened shortly to discuss the future course of action arising out of the arrest of his daughter in the spectrum case. "No decision has been taken as yet, " Karunanidhi said and also declared that "he had not taken a decision whether to visit Delhi or not." In the first reaction to the arrest he said "if you have a daughter who has been arrested how would you feel. I am having similar feelings," he said in response to a question.

Asked if this would lead to any change in political equation with the Congress, the former chief minister said the DMK was a democratic party and it would take an appropriate decision at a high level meeting. He said no date however has been fixed yet.

Only a handful senior most DMK leaders who have been with him through thick and thin rushed the upmarket CIT colony residence in Central Chennai amid reports that Karunanidhi himself would leave for Delhi either tonight or Saturday. Kanimozhi's mother Rajathi Ammal has already left her residence to go to Delhi and is said to be taking the evening flight to the capital.

Karunanidhi's two sons -- union chemicals and fertilizers minister MK Alagiri and former deputy chief minister MK Stalin were also inside the CIT colony residence where other seniormost partymen made a dash after the television channels started beaming news of denial of bail to Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar in the afternoon.

The DMK leaders and the few MLAs were stunned into silence and almost all seemed to have switched off their mobiles too as no one was within the reach of the army of media personnel gathered at the Gopalapuram and CIT colony residences of the former chief minister.

Only the big car leaders began trickling in, going straight into the residence to console and give support to their beleagured leader and to think up ways and means to overcome the sitatation. Though the arrest of Kanimozhi was not entirely unexpected, given the fact that no other accused in the 2G spectrum scam has been considered fit to be granted bail, Kanimozhi's arrest has shaken the DMK leaders close to Kalaignar.

Among the few leaders who were spotted going in were former finance minister K Anbazhagan, former agriculture minister Arcadu Veeraswamy, former transport minister KN Nehru. Neither the DMK leaders nor the leaders from the Congress in the state were available for comment at the time of writing this report.

There were, however, unconfirmed reports of a possible formal DMK meeting on Monday to take stock of the situation arising out of the electoral drubbing the party got and Kanimozhi's arrest, amidst demands for action against all the people allegedly involved in the spectrum scam. Officially none of the DMK leaders or leaders of its alliance partners, the Congress or Pattali Makkal Katchi reacted to the development yet.

DMDK presidium chairman Panruti Ramachandran cautiously commented that it was not in the DMK interests to do any misadventure as then it would have nothing to fall back upon. "It needs the Congress more now than ever," he said. Echoing similar sentiments, political commentator Cho Ramaswamy said that the DMK was in no position to take any action.

The Congress on the other hand would in its interests cozy upto the AIADMK was his considered opinion on the future course political developments might take in the wake of the 2G spectrum case progress.

With the change in power, the official trappings in the heavy presence of security was also missing. Media personnel outnumbered the security paraphanalia at the CIT colony residence as also another band of press persons kept a close vigil at the Gopalapuram residence, which is the official residence of Karunanidhi.