As the Presidential poll schedule is expected in the next few days, DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin on Thursday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and reportedly reiterated the party's backing for the Congress nominee.
Accompanied by DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu, Mr. Stalin, who is also the son of DMK president M. Karunanidhi, conveyed the message of the latter that there was no second thought or confusion in supporting the Congress candidate for the post.
Mr. Baalu told The Hindu that Mr. Stalin originally came to meet the former Minister A. Raja, who was released from jail recently in the 2G spectrum case, and later paid courtesy calls on the three leaders.
Mr. Stalin's meeting here with Congress leaders comes even as Mr. Karunanidhi had indicated in Chennai on Wednesday that he was not averse to the idea of supporting the candidature of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for the post of President. He was reacting to Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani's stand that Mr. Kalam's candidature should be supported. The DMK patriarch had said though it was Mr. Veeramani's opinion, he would not like to contradict him.
Mr. Karunanidhi had further told reporters that the DMK had already explained its stand to Defence Minister A.K. Antony and informed the media about it to an extent.
Earlier on another occasion, Mr. Karunanidhi had reportedly said, while reacting to a question on whether he had any objection to Mr. Pranab Mukherjee becoming the President: “If he is the candidate, the DMK will not hesitate to support his candidature.”
In the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the DMK has a strength of 23. In the Lok Sabha it has 18 members (including one from the IUML who won on the DMK symbol) and seven in the Rajya Sabha.
The AIADMK, which is backing the candidature of the former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma in the poll, has 149 members in the Assembly, nine in the Lok Sabha and five members in the Rajya Sabha.