Belying all speculation to the contrary, the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu on Thursday reaffirmed its support for former telecom minister A Raja, arrested a day earlier in connection with the 2G-spectrum allocation scam.
But the decision came only after much heated debate within the family of Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, with daughter Kanimozhi — in the teeth of opposition from her brother fertilizers and chemicals minister MK Alagiri — finally persuading her father not to dump Raja.
“Raja’s only mistake was to make mobile phones affordable for the poor,” said Karunanidhi at the DMK’s general council meeting. “On their behalf, I appreciate his work.”
The meeting passed a resolution condemning the Opposition and the media for maligning the DMK by harping on the spectrum allocation.
“DMK is with Raja and Raja is in the DMK,” declared TKS Elangovan senior MP and party spokesperson after the meeting.
“Mere arrest of Raja does not mean he is guilty. Even Jayalalithaa was arrested, but she is free today. Raja will come out clean.”
He also maintained that the question of taking any punitive action Raja did not arise, as no one had made such a suggestion at the meeting. Thus Raja will continue to remain the DMK’s propaganda secretary.
But sources indicated that a letter from Raja offering to quit his party post had been procured earlier in Delhi and flown down to Chennai by special messenger. It was read out a meeting held at Karunanidhi’s residence before the general council meeting started, where the core group decided it would not be accepted.
Kanimozhi’s position was also supported by some DMK leaders who felt, that with elections in Tamil Nadu due in May, there was little to be gained by abandoning Raja. Raja’s Dalit community was already upset with the probe against him and would be further alienated if Raja was dumped.
After the meeting, while a beaming Kanimozhi readily gave guarded interviews to television channels, Azhagiri was conspicuous by his absence.