All may not be over between the Congress and the DMK if developments on Wednesday are anything to go by.
UPA chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi told outgoing union minister MK Alagiri that his father and DMK chief M Karunanidhi's “sudden decision” to withdraw support to the government came as a surprise and “pained” the Congress leadership.
“We felt that your father should have spoken to the Prime Minister or to me before announcing the decision,” she is believed to have told Alagiri, indicating that the Congress had no inkling of the DMK's plan.
Taken aback, Alagiri said “it was the decision of the DMK and I have to abide by it”.
The conversation took place in the prime minister’s office in the Parliament House on Wednesday when Alagiri met him to hand over his letter of resignation, DMK sources said.
When he entered the room, Manmohan Singh greeted him warmly and said Sonia Gandhi would also join them. As they waited for her, Singh recalled his “relationship” with the DMK chief and how Karunanidhi had called him up in 2004 after Sonia refused to be the prime minister.
Singh and Gandhi’s interaction with Alagiri coincided with the talk of another rift between him and younger brother MK Stalin, who is believed to have decided the timing of Karunanidhi’s decision to walk out of the UPA.
Alagiri, said sources, was very upset that Stalin, with whom he is locked in a bitter succession battle for the DMK, had kept him in the dark about the actual timings.
Consequently, he sought a separate appointment with the PM to hand over his resignation. Alagiri and D Napoleon met Singh an hour after other three DMK ministers handed over their resignation letters.
The PM has forwarded the resignations to the President for acceptance.
Alagiri is said to be miffed with his parliamentary party leader TR Baalu who "rushed" three party ministers to the PM. Tuesday night, Baalu, a Stalin loyalist, surprised everyone in leading a DMK team to President Pranab Mukherjee for handing over the letter of withdrawal of support to the UPA.
After Karunanidhi announced his decision in Chennai on Tuesday, Union ministers P Chidambaram and Kamal Nath met Alagiri in the Lok Sabha to confirm the development, the DMK sources said.
Alagiri is said to have called up a close aide of his father for details of events unfolding in Chennai.
Alagiri's worries are not limited to his brother. As he is no longer a union minister, he could find himself at the receiving end of the state government led by bitter foe J Jayalalithaa.
His son Dayanidhi is facing charges of land grab and illegal mining.