Dalit card to Raja’s aid
After meetings with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi came out in full support of his party nominee, Telecom Minister A. Raja, who is caught in a row over irregularities over the allotment of 2G spectrum.
The DMK chief invoked the Dalit card to dismiss allegations against Raja that he caused a huge loss to the exchequer. “Raja is a Dalit. That is why dominant forces are levelling malicious charges against him,” he said.
The Congress too seemed reluctant to antagonise its ally. Downplaying the Opposition’s demand for Raja’s resignation, the Congress said there was no “credible evidence” to support the charges.
“These are in nature of allegations. There is nothing in the realm of proof or credible evidence,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.
Singhvi also dismissed charges that the government was shielding Raja saying there is “no question of defending somebody, who is not an accused”. A Congress leader said, “Why should we ask for his resignation? It is for the DMK to take a call.”
Congress managers said their party had taken such calls on many occasions in the past, especially after Sonia Gandhi became the Congress president in 1998. “We asked Tharoor to resign after his name figured in the IPL controversy,” another leader said.
Karunanidhi is also said to have dropped broad hints about his plan to make his son, M.K. Stalin the Chief Minister before the assembly polls next year.
But the DMK and the Congress were tightlipped about the meeting. Karunanidhi met Gandhi for 10 minutes before they were joined by Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and DMK MPs T.R. Baalu and Kanimozhi, his daughter, for the next twenty minutes. His son, Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, was absent.
Asked what was discussed, Karunanidhi said, “I told Sonia Gandhi that steps should be taken to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha as soon as possible.” Asked whether he discussed any political issues with Gandhi, the DMK chief said, “There is more time for the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu…”