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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Did Stalin snub KCR’s Federal Front pitch? Just a ‘courtesy call’, says DMK

DMK chief M K Stalin described K Chandrasekhar Rao’s visit as a courtesy call but a DMK member said no commitment was given on the Federal Front which Rao wants to revive

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 14, 2019 07:36 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
DMK leader M K Stalin greets Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, at his residence, in Chennai on Monday, May 13, 2019.
DMK leader M K Stalin greets Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, at his residence, in Chennai on Monday, May 13, 2019.(PTI)
         

DMK chief MK Stalin hosted Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtriya Samithi president K Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday for an hour but described the meeting as only a courtesy call even though Rao is on a mission to revive his Federal Front.

“It is a courtesy call,” was all that Stalin said in a statement about the more than an hour-long discussion with KCR, as Rao is known.

A DMK member, however, said that the party has made it clear to the Telangana CM that it was in firm in its alliance with the Congress and steadfastly opposed to the BJP.

“No commitment has been given to KCR on the Federal Front. The discussion revolved around the possible outcome of the Lok Sabha polls and the DMK has clearly explained its position,” added the DMK member who did want to be identified.

The meeting took place at the DMK president’s Alwarpet residence in the city in the evening. It was the same venue when KCR was hosted for dinner in April 2018, months before the demise of the DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.

The DMK is now firmly in alliance with the Congress and Stalin was the first to endorse Rahul Gandhi for Prime Ministership even as other regional parties are still very guarded about this.

Stalin presented KCR with a statuette of his father, the late M Karunanidhi as a memento. During the discussion, Stalin was accompanied by senior party colleagues, Duraimurugan, DMK treasurer, and TR Baalu, former Union Minister. KCR too was accompanied by his close aides.

Earlier in the day, KCR and his entourage visited the famed Sri Rangam temple, foremost among the 108 Vaishnavite Divya Desams, near Trichy.

Monday’s meeting came up after the DMK gave up its initial hesitation of offending its ally, the Congress. Until last week, there was no certainty about the meeting since the DMK had not confirmed the date citing Stalin’s preoccupations with the campaign for the crucial bypolls for four assembly seats. The bypolls are slated for May 19, the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

It has now emerged that the Congress itself has reached out to the TRS and the YSR Congress of Jaganmohan Reddy.

However, while the Congress has dismissed the possibility of a Third Front, the AIADMK and the BJP have questioned the rationale of the DMK entertaining KCR, even while remaining in alliance with the Congress.

TNCC President KS Alagiri discounted the prospect of a Third Front.

“There is no possibility for the Third Front given the present political situation in the country. The very idea has no political currency and validity,” he told the media.

The AIADMK believes the DMK is using Stalin’s meeting with KCR to blackmail the Congress and trying to build bridges with the BJP.

“Blackmailing the Congress, Stalin is sending feelers to the BJP. The DMK is seeking 5 plum ministerial berths at the Centre. It is nothing new for the DMK to playing double game,” said Tamil Nadu Fisheries and senior AIADMK leader Minster D Jayaklumar.

For the BJP, this turned out to be a convenient handle to target the DMK, accusing the Dravidian major of hiding the outcome of the meeting from the public.

“Why didn’t Stalin meet the media after the meeting with KCR? Why was he shying away?” asked Tamilisai Soundarrajan, president of BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit. “The DMK is changing colours.”

With KCR too leaving without meeting the media, speculation is rife about whether he secured a commitment from the DMK for cobbling up the Federal Front, a non-BJP and non-Congress combine.

First Published: May 13, 2019 21:11 IST