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Congress rejects Jaya’s olive branch on poll alliance

Congress said its alliance with DMK was ‘quite strong’ and it had no plan to tie up with AIADMK’ as on today. M Veerappa Moily said that the alliance with DMK is quite strong and differences with other UPA alliance partners are being bridged.

Written by Agencies | Chennai | Published: February 19, 2009 8:56:05 pm

Congress said its alliance with DMK was ‘quite strong’ and it had no plan to tie up with AIADMK’ as on today.

“As on today,we have not decided (on joining any) front with anybody including Jayalalithaa. Our alliance with DMK is quite strong. Whatever differences we have with other UPA alliance partners,they are being bridged”,Congress media department chief M Veerappa Moily said.

Asked whether Congress will snap ties with DMK following the proposal of AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa,Moily said,”our alliance with Karunanidhi is very strong”.

AICC general secretary V Narainsamy said,”political leaders are entitled to have their opinion but as of now our alliance with DMK and PMK stands”.

Jaya stirs the pot,tells Cong to dump DMK for AIADMK

Stirring the pot of coalition politics,AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa on Thursday invoked the ‘daughterly’ affection she had for late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her relations with Rajiv Gandhi to urge the Congress to dump the DMK and join her party-led alliance for the Lok Sabha polls.

“The public,angry at the DMK,is waiting for an opportunity to teach them a lesson,” she said,likening the ruling party in Tamil Nadu to one caught in the ‘quicksand’ of public ire.

If the Congress decided to continue its alliance,the party would only be dragged down along with the DMK,warned Jayalalithaa,demanding the dismissal of the DMK government for its ‘Himalayan blunders’.

“No one can save the DMK anymore. DMK’s chapter is over. But if the Congress thinks it can lift and rescue DMK from the quicksand it has fallen,it will also get caught and sink,” she said during a mass-marriage ceremony organised by party cadres to celebrate her birthday.

Claiming that only those parties who were in the alliance led by her would be successful in the coming elections,she pointed out that the Congress and AIADMK had good relations in the past. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was like a mother to her,she said,adding that she also shared a good relationship with Rajiv Gandhi.

Until recently,Jayalalithaa was the leading voice against the Congress under Sonia Gandhi,often raising the issue of her foreign origin. Nevertheless,her comments have shaken alliance dynamics as any new arrangement could impact both state and national politics.

For instance,falling way short of a simple majority in a House of 234,the Karunanidhi government is completely dependent on Congress support to remain in power. At the Centre,the DMK-led alliance has supported the UPA led by the Congress. If Jayalalithaa successfully poaches the Congress,it could signal the end of the state government.

Jayalalithaa’s overture to the Congress has also put the comrades in a fix. Led by the state unit of the CPI,the Left parties had recently stitched a partnership with AIADMK,the anti-Congress plank being the only foundation.

“I don’t know why she made such a comment. We can react to it only after finding out more,” CPI state secretary D Pandian told ‘The Indian Express’. Pandian was key to the partnership between the Left and AIADMK,over-riding the inherent differences between the two. CPM leaders also refused comment,adding that they would announce their stand only after consultations.

Incidentally,this would put even the BJP in a tight situation. The party had failed to reinvent the alliance between the two despite many attempts. But leaders were still hopeful of Jayalalithaa coming their way in the event of the BJP gaining majority,due to the many similarities that the parties shared.

The Congress is the last party left in the Democratic Progressive Alliance,known as the rainbow coalition when it was formed in 2004 to oppose the AIADMK and BJP. The MDMK jumped ship to join the AIADMK alliance when the next Assembly election came around in 2006. The PMK leadership was next to fall out of favour with the DMK. The Left parties followed,citing DMK’s continued support to the Congress during the run-up to the trust vote on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Though its strength has declined from the Kamaraj period of the 1960s,the Congress is still considered a kingmaker in Tamil Nadu politics,owing to its faithful votebank of nearly nine per cent. But this tag has not earned the party much at the state level as power kept oscillating between the Dravidian majors.

A section of Congress leaders and cadres,unhappy that the party has been out of power since the ‘golden days of Kamaraj’s rule’,demanded that the DMK accommodate them in the state cabinet. Karunanidhi rejected the suggestion,much to the disappointment of the hopefuls.

Analysts say that Jayalalithaa’s comments are aimed at the dissenting members,opening a divide within the party over its decision to be part of the DMK alliance.

PMK leader S Ramadoss has also stated that he will work for a Congress-led coalition in the state that would be devoid of the two Dravidian parties. Yet another newcomer DMDK,which impressed many with over eight per cent voteshare in the last Assembly polls,has expressed keenness to forge an alliance with the Congress.

Tamil Nadu and Puducherry send 40 members to the Lok Sabha,a number that is crucial in case of a tight verdict. In the 2004 election,the AIADMK-BJP alliance was routed by the DMK-led alliance that had both the Congress and the comrades.

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