Differences between DMK chief M Karunanidhi's two sons on maintaining ties with the Congress is behind the party's current posturing on the UPA government's decision to hike the price of diesel and place a cap on supply of LPG cylinders.
Union minister and DMK treasurer MK Alagiri and former deputy chief minister MK Stalin, who are locked in a bitter battle to wrest control of the party, differ on what should be the DMK's approach towards the Congress, against the backdrop of crises engulfing the UPA government - the most recent being the coal controversy and the political row over reforms.
While Stalin does not see much sense in remaining in an alliance with the Congress, Alagiri is against taking any snap decision.
This was one of the reasons behind Karunanidhi joining the opposition's protest on Thursday against FDI in retail, diesel price hike and cap on LPG supply, insiders say.
Karunanidhi, whose main worry remains the exoneration of his daughter-- Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi-- in 2G-related cases, expects Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to push for a partial rollback and cushion the impact on the people.
Karunanidhi, however, was firm on not entertaining any suggestion from hardliners in his party to precipitate the crisis faced by the Congress in the wake of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's decision to withdraw support to the UPA government.
Karunanidhi's primary concern, apart from his daughter's future, is to stave off criticisms from Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa that the DMK is party to the UPA’s “anti-people” decisions.
So, after flexing its muscles following Banerjee's bombshell, the DMK on Wednesday made the Congress breathe easy by ruling out any immediate move to pull out of the government. DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan said, “The question of DMK snapping ties with UPA doesn’t arise now.”
Besides this, DMK leaders are unhappy with the Centre over issues concerning Sri Lankan Tamils and the 2G probe against Kanimozhi as well as former telecom minister A Raja. The party, which has 18 MPs, was second-largest constituent of the UPA after the Trinamool Congress.
(With inputs from KV Lakshman in Chennai)