Sensing that the political situation has moved beyond the simple option of saving the government or soft-pedaling the nuclear deal, the DMK is gearing up for early elections.
This is despite Mulayam Singh Yadav’s overtures to the Congress a tie-up that is likely to save the government in case the Left pulls out. DMK sources told HT: “We have to prepare for any eventuality though we are not for early Parliamentary elections.” Reason: the fast-paced developments over the last few days in Delhi “does not make us feel confident” about the longevity of the UPA regime, they added.
And party chief M Karunanidhi, in anticipation of early polls, has started flaunting the DMK’s performance at the Central as well as state levels. Today, the Tamil Nadu CM took the opportunity of a wedding in the family of the Union Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu to assert that whatever the hurdles in the way of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, it would come through. He said the DMK was “proud” of Baalu, widely viewed in Delhi as “one of the more efficient Ministers”.
Also, Karunanidhi, of late, has been emphasising that secularism is best strengthened by any future government at the Centre whose presence would reassure the minorities. That was his counter to the BJP’s charge of Congress’s ‘minority appeasement’ stance, the sources said.
Even when CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and the CPI’s national secretary D. Raja met him recently, Karunanidhi repeatedly told them not to pave the way for the BJP’s return at the Centre, although he did not mention the deal, the sources added.
The DMK leadership sees the Samajwadi Party’s overtures to the Congress as nothing more than an opportunity to drive a hard bargain. However, Mulayam warming up to the Congress would not affect the Left parties’ equations with the DMK in Tamil Nadu, sources said, adding that the Left would continue to have seat adjustments with the DMK-Congress combine in the state in the Lok Sabha polls.
The DMK is also not ignoring the political realities glaring at the Left parties, which “have to fight the Congress” in West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, a prime consideration that is driving the CPM and its allies to hasten the break with the Congress, sources said.