Congress upset over Karunanidhi reaching out to BJP for support

While the DMK is keen on uniting the opposition against the ruling AIADMK in the December 4 by-election to the Yercaud Assembly constituency, its efforts have evoked only lukewarm response, even from its erstwhile ally, the Congress.

Congress sources say the Congress is upset that the DMK leader M. Karunanidhi had written to the BJP leadership seeking support in the by-election. Mr. Karunanidhi has written to all political parties, including the Left and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by actor Vijayakant. The Left parties have already rejected his proposal.

‘Weighing options’

When reporters asked him about his party’s stand on the by-election, TNCC president B.S. Gnandesikan said on Wednesday that no decision had been taken so far and the Congress was weighing various options.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s core committee has decided to stay away from the contest, but has not indicated whether it would support any party in the by-poll.

“The Lok Sabha polls are our priority and we don’t want to fritter away our energy on other issues,” said BJP’s state president Pon. Radhakrishnan. He said the question of extending support to other parties would be taken later.

The Congress is also not in a mood to make any commitment now as it will bind the party in an alliance with the DMK.

“The Assembly elections in five States top the agenda of the Congress high command, and it is unlikely to indicate its mind immediately on any by-election in a State where the party stands to gain nothing,” said a senior Congress leader.

He said the overwhelming mood in the TNCC was against “mortgaging” the interests of its State unit for the sake of a few seats to rule Delhi. “We wonder what is the need for him (Mr. Karunanidhi) to ask the BJP for support, knowing well that Congress will not be comfortable with the move,” said another senior Congress leader.

Though Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is highly critical of the Congress-led UPA and has not missed an opportunity to hit out at the Centre, a section of Congress leaders still favour the idea of an alliance with the AIADMK.

“At present, the Congress will benefit more from an alliance with the AIADMK than with the DMK. We also know that many in the DMK are not favourably disposed to the idea of sailing with the Congress,” he said.

‘Alliance not in mind’

When contacted, DMK sources sought to clarify that Mr. Karunanidhi had made a genuine attempt to bring together the Opposition and the idea of an alliance with the BJP would have been the last thing in his mind. “But he has also conveyed to the Congress that he is keeping his options open.

The message is that the Congress needs us more than we need it in the Lok Sabha polls,” said a former DMK minister.

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