Lifting the cloud over the DMK, a key ally of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre, participating in the new Manmohan Singh Ministry, the party President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi today sent out a positive message from Chennai that clearly signals DMK’s return to the Government.
Karunanidhi, before leaving New Delhi on Friday morning had reiterated the DMK’s position to offer outside support to the Government, stemming from its “dissatisfaction” with the Congress’ offer of Cabinet berths to the Dravidian party.
However, the DMK Patriarch today softened his stand in the light of Manmohan Singh’s remarks on the issue after his swearing-in along with 19 Cabinet Ministers in New Delhi last evening. Singh had not only termed the UPA’s offer (of Cabinet positions) to the DMK as “reasonable”, but had also expressed the hope that “our valued colleagues (DMK), will reconsider their decision” and return to participate in the new Government.
Karunanidhi, in a statement in Chennai, referring to these sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister last night, thanked Singh profusely for “clearing the air” over the taint charges hurled at two of DMK’s former Cabinet Ministers – TR Baalu and A Raja-, “by some New Delhi-based television channels in the run-up to the Government formation.”
“These TV channels deliberately ran a mud-slinging campaign against two of our former DMK Ministers at the Centre,” Karunanidhi said, adding, Singh had “refuted” such impressions against those Ministers in his post-swearing-in remarks to the media in the National Capital on Friday evening.
“Following this, the Prime Minister has renewed his appeal that the DMK should join the Ministry,” Karunanidhi said and added that the DMK’s ‘High Level Policy Making Body’ thanked Manmohan Singh for his magnanimous gesture. In this backdrop, the DMK’s top-level body would deliberate “on participating in the Ministry, take a decision and then announce it,” the 85-year-old DMK patriarch added.
The Congress in its latest move has reportedly offered two Cabinet-level posts, one Minister of State with Independent charge, and four other Ministers of State positions for the DMK that keeps it on par with the seven Ministerial berths the DMK had held under the previous UPA dispensation in New Delhi. There could be some changes in this, though the number of Cabinet posts for the DMK will remain at seven, sources said.
Till late Friday night, the DMK’s top-level leaders led by Karunanidhi, and including the party’s General Secretary, K Anbazhagan, Arcot N Veerasamy, and the party’s Youth Wing leader, M K Stalin, besides the main Cabinet aspirants like Dayanidhi Maran, Kanimozhi, and the DMK Chief’s elder son, M K Azhagiri, discussed the Congress’ new offer, in separate meetings. The first confabulations were at Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence and the second at his ‘CIT Nagar’ home.