To belated DMK overture, Cong says wait till May 16

Karunanidhi’s refusal to have any pre-poll alliance has made this offer largely irrelevant for the Congress at the moment.

Chennai | Published:April 9, 2014 2:45 am

Forced to go alone in Tamil Nadu at a crucial juncture ahead of the coming Lok Sabha election, the Congress has not taken kindly to former ally DMK’s latest hint offering post-poll support, asking the regional party to wait for the results.

“People who have woken up belatedly to realise the strength and value of Congress should wait till May 16,” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Tuesday in response to DMK president M Karunanidhi’s comment on Monday night that his party was willing to join the Congress for the sake of secularism.

At a campaign meeting in Salem, Karunanidhi had said the party was willing to shake any hand to uphold secularism, which, he said, was under threat. “Don’t think we have left the hand or the hand has left us,” he said, in a concealed reference to the Congress.

However, Karunanidhi’s refusal to have any pre-poll alliance has made this offer largely irrelevant for the Congress at the moment, and his stinging remarks seeking an expression of regret from the Congress for its alleged acts of betrayal have not been forgotten by the national party.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday at Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the regional headquarters of his party, Singhvi listed the various infrastructure schemes taken up in Tamil Nadu under the UPA rule and Congress’s support for Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi’s Rajya Sabha election (without naming her) to drive home his claim that the Congress had consistently stood with its ally even after their alliance broke up.

“Gratitude must come from the regional parties whether they are in alliance with us or not… If people suggest ingratitude on our part and then simultaneously extend an olive branch, they have realised our true strength and value…,” he said.

“Wait till May 16, those who have taunted and criticised us will be queuing up before us,” said Singhvi in reply to a question about the DMK, adding that his party would win a respectable number of seats from Tamil Nadu in the coming election.

Fighting the election on its own, the Congress has to put up a face-saving performance, at least in a few constituencies where its senior MPs were elected several times but with the support of regional parties. In this mission, an offer of post-poll support, which may be valuable after May 16, has little use for the party at the moment.

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