For almost a week, it seemed like the opposition alliance of national party Congress and Dravidian major DMK was almost crashing. Some blamed DMK Chief M K Stalin, while others blamed veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram for the fact that his loyalist, K S Alagiri, is the man heading Congress in Tamil Nadu who made public statements against DMK that led to the crisis. After a week-long tension, senior Congress leaders, including Alagiri, paid a visit to Stalin in Chennai Saturday and issued statements that their differences have been resolved, assuring that the alliance is more important.
A statement issued by Stalin, after meeting Congress state chief Alagiri and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayansamy, said both the Congress and DMK leaders should restrain from public statements on alliance issues. Clarifying that there are no differences with Congress, Stalin said Congress will always stand with DMK in its fight against communal forces. “Congress statement made the issue public and led to unpleasant exchanges on both sides. I don’t want to give fodder to people who wish to see cracks in DMK-Congress alliance,” Stalin said.
On Saturday morning, it was Puducherry CM and the senior Congress leader Narayanasamy who first reached out to Stalin. After meeting the DMK Chief, Narayanasamy said the DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry remain strong without any cracks. “Nobody can break us, this will continue in the next assembly polls too. Stalin will emerge as the CM and Congress will fight for his victory,” Narayansamy said after meeting Stalin.
When asked about problematic statements from both Congress and DMK leaders in the past few days, he said there may be people with different opinions. “But when we are a family or alliance, we need to resolve those differences… Many macro factors play a role in local body polls, but we can’t afford to let those issues affect our larger alliance, which stands for a cause in the state and national level,” Narayansamy said.
While Narayansamy’s visit was to resolve the tension between DMK and Congress leadership, especially for the fact that he is known as one such leader from South India with a close proximity to the Congress high command, the Tamil Nadu Congress chief Alagiri was the second leader to visit Stalin at DMK headquarters. Alagiri, a loyalist of Chidambaram, was the man who kicked up the controversy by saying DMK violated “alliance Dharma” in sharing posts in urban bodies, a statement that irked Stalin, who is visibly aspired to run the party with more centralised powers like late J Jayalalithaa ran her AIADMK.
Soon after Alagiri’s statement last week, there were more leaders from Congress party who condemned DMK’s indifference to Congress party in sharing local body posts. And the DMK response to these public statements was boycotting an anti-CAA meeting called by Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, a decision that surprised many.
A day later, T R Baalu, senior DMK leader who heads the party in parliament clarified that they skipped the anti-CAA meeting in protest. And veteran DMK leader Duraimurugan’s statement worsened the crisis. When asked him about the statements of Congress leaders and reports of cracks in the DMK-Congress alliance, Duraimurugan said Congress can leave the DMK alliance asserting that it wouldn’t affect the prospects of DMK.
On Saturday, finally when there was a ground set for dialogues to settle the issue, Congress state chief Alagiri himself visited Stalin after Naranasamy. “No cracks or differences in our alliance, we were just expressing our feeling… But that cannot have any impact on our alliance,” Alagiri said, after his meeting with Stalin. When asked about random remarks from leaders from both parties, he said it is natural that many express their opinions when there is tension. “But it is also important that we put an end to all that… If there are disagreements, DMK and Congress chiefs will talk and resolve it,” Alagiri said.
Besides their own leaders, the actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan was among those who commented on the issue. Haasan, on Friday, said he had already forecast it will happen. “I think that is what is happening,” said Haasan, as if he expected fissures in the DMK-Congress alliance.
Alagiri, responding to Haasan, questioned his real motive. “He often claims that he represents the secular front. But at the same time, he seeks help from Rajinikanth. Why is he doing that when everyone knows that Rajinikanth is close to BJP?” Alagiri asked.
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