The arrest of former telecom minister A. Raja and the DMK's resultant discomfort, coming as it does on the eve of Tamil Nadu assembly elections in May has made the local Congress leaders hopeful of a larger role in the state politics.
Anxious not to rock the alliance boat in any way at this stage, however, Congress leaders are being very careful while speaking on record. No state Congressman has made any statement about Raja's arrest.
"Now that the alliance with DMK is firmed up, our focus is on victory of the alliance. But this time around we definitely would want a share in power," said youth Congress state president M Yuvaraj. "There is tremendous enthusiasm among the youth Congress workers and activists after the visit of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and they would work with greater zeal if there is hope of participation in the government."
Senior Congress leader EVKS Elangovan has been among those in the forefront, for demanding a share in power in the state. At one time he had wanted the Congress to end its alliance with the DMK and go it alone in the polls by bringing smaller parties into its fold. After persuasion by the high command in the overall interests of the party, leaders like Elangovan have wholeheartedly accepted the alliance with DMK.
"An announcement of power sharing before the elections would go a long way in pepping up the cadres," said another Congress leader.
The Congress has won three elections in alliance with the DMK since 2004 and the alliance is strong, said AICC member Karti Chidambaram.
The arrest of former telecom minister A Raja will not in any way affect the alliance, Chidambaram said and added that it would be wrong to assume the Congress was trying to capitalize on the situation by seeking more seats. The Congress has demanded 78 seats this time.