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2G verdict: Will DMK now align with BJP? Not really, says Tamil Nadu party

In the circumstances, most senior DMK leaders see only a remote possibility of the BJP and the DMK joining hands

Aditi Phadnis  |  New Delhi 

2G scam verdict, Kanimozhi, A Raja
2G scam verdict

The subtext of the 2G spectrum order acquitting leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), has set off frenzied speculation about whether the party will now join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Democratic Alliance (NDA), especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on patriarch M Karunanidhi recently. Although the is part of the Congress-led (UPA), relations between the two were strained after the government asked the then telecom minister to step down following the 2G spectrum controversy. Despite the coolness — and a belief in a large section of the Congress that it was the that cost it the 2014 elections — the two parties came together in 2016 to fight the Assembly election as allies. After M K Stalin took over as party chief, the bitterly criticised the Centre’s policies. The prevailing belief is that the would prefer to stay with a weak Congress as its partner in the state (and at the Centre) rather than offer a toe-hold to the to grow piggybacking on the in Tamil Nadu, a state where the has only a fledgling organisational structure. ALSO READ: 2G verdict: All 17 acquitted for lack of evidence; CBI to move Delhi HC “Impossible” said a former Union minister from the Congress when asked if the would jump ship now. “They hate the and can never forget all the things that Narendra Modi said about leaders in the run-up to the 2014 elections.” The and the have had a history — way back in the hoary past. During the Emergency, when most non-Congress governments were dismissed by Indira Gandhi, was the refuge of many Opposition leaders.

Although neither could speak the other’s language, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a deep fondness for Karunanidhi. During a debate in the Lok Sabha in the 1970s when a cyclone had hit and the was pleading for central assistance, Vajpayee got up to intervene. “Apne inke prati karuna dikhai hai. Ab nidhi bhi de deejiye,” he had told Indira Gandhi. ALSO READ: 2G spectrum case verdict: Congress spurred by court acquittals Karunanidhi reciprocated the respect and was to reminisce in 2016 at a party forum that “when I was CM (1996-2001) I sent a proposal to construct a memorial for (late Congress leader) K Kamaraj in Kanyakumari. Officials in the Vajpayee ministry refused to accord permission as it went against the law governing coastal areas. But Vajpayee accorded permission and also sent a message on the opening of the memorial.” But he also lamented that the of that era was not the of 2016. In the circumstances, most senior leaders see only a remote possibility of the and the joining hands. But as a young Congress leader said tersely: “Anything can happen.”

First Published: Fri, December 22 2017. 17:46 IST