DMK told to decide fast on Cabinet berths | india | Hindustan Times
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DMK told to decide fast on Cabinet berths

Central government leaders have impressed upon the DMK to not delay its decision on replacements for A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the Union Cabinet “inordinately” and, if possible, send their names before the party’s conclave in Coimbatore on July 23 and 24. Shekhar Iyer and K V Lakshmana reports.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2011 00:40 IST

Central government leaders have impressed upon the DMK to not delay its decision on replacements for A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the Union Cabinet “inordinately” and, if possible, send their names before the party’s conclave in Coimbatore on July 23 and 24.

They may want the new ministers to take charge early so that they are hands-on before the Parliament session begins on August 1.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after the Tuesday’s ministerial reshuffle, said he had kept two berths vacant for the Congress’ southern ally.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s priority, however, is the release of his daughter-MP Kanimozhi from Tihar jail on bail in the 2G scam case.

By not pressing for Cabinet berths, Karunanidhi wanted to appear to be exuding “an air of magnanimity” towards the Congress, said party insiders.

“We didn't ask Pranab Mukherjee for any replacement for the portfolios held by our ministers when he visited me recently,” Karunanidhi clarified. Raja and Maran had resigned from telecom and textiles ministries over corruption charges in the 2G scam.

“What’s important for the party at this juncture is how best to rejuvenate the party after a humiliating defeat in the May 13 Assembly elections,” said another DMK leader.

Nevertheless, DMK leaders welcomed the PM's remarks that he had kept two vacancies in the Union Cabinet for the DMK. They hoped that Thalaivar (Karunanidhi) would take the right decision after consultations with party senior leaders.

DMK insiders said when Karunanidhi was in distress over Kanimozhi’s detention, top party leaders did not wanted be seen jockeying for ministerial positions.

Former minister T R Baalu was keen to fill the vacancy caused by Maran’s exit. But the Congress made it clear that the PM would not want Baalu back in his cabinet — after having persuaded Karunanidhi not to press for his re-induction in 2009.

As of now, Karunanidhi’s son M K Azhagiri is the lone DMK representative in the Cabinet, while there are four ministers of state — S S Palanimanickam, S Jagatrakshakan, Gandhisel-van and D Napolean.

“Any decision on naming persons to fill the posts vacated by two DMK MPs would be taken at Coimbatore. We can’t confirm anything before that,” said DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan.