DMK Patriarch M Karunanidhi has been caught in a catch-22 situation after the arrest of his daughter Kanimozhi. Most senior leaders have reached the party headquarters and gone into a huddle to determine their next step.
While, on an emotional level, both the leader and most of DMK’s rank and file want to ‘take revenge’ on the Central government by pulling back its support, both of his sons are believed to be advocating caution against any such move.
MK Stalin and MK Azhagiri, Karunanidhi’s sons from another marriage and his political heirs, are reported to be in favor of maintaining support for the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
“They believe that it is very important to be in the central government.. even if it’s a vastly subdued role compared to before, than to lose everything,” points out a political commentator based in Chennai.
The party has fallen from grace over the last six months. First, it was forced to acquiesce to the arrest of its Dalit leader and Karunanidhi loyalist Andimuthu Raja after the Supreme Court started turning the screws on the UPA government over the 2G scam.
According to the CBI, Raja colluded with select corporate houses to rig the selection procedure for allotting telecom licenses in 2007-08.
Last week, the party was soundly beaten by the Jayalalitha-led AIADMK party which dethroned him from the chief minister’s chair in Chennai. Factions within DMK, led by Stalin and Azhagiri, now want the party to remain in the good books of the Congress so that the condition of DMK and its leaders does not deteriorate beyond a point.
The turn of events also marks a spectacular turn-around for the Congress party, which was being completely dominated by the DMK as late as just a year ago. The situation was widely termed as the ‘tail wagging the dog’ by political observers, as the DMK, with its 18 MPs, managed to win lucrative concessions from the Congress, the biggest party in the UPA coalition.
Many in the Congress are reported to be secretly happy that their alliance was resoundingly defeated in the Tamil Nadu state elections, though not even they anticipated the extent of the defeat.
The DMK patriarch is expected to make his choice between his head and heart very soon. According to sources in Chennai, Kanimozhi’s arrest was not totally along expected lines for Karunanidhi.