Baalu meets A.K. Antony; DMDK chief’s brother-in-law calls on senior Congress leaders ahead of Rajya Sabha polls
Though only a few days are left for the June 27 biennial election to Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu for six seats, the Congress high command is keeping its options open on who its five MLAs in the State Legislative Assembly will support – DMK or DMDK – as the decision might have consequences for the upcoming Lok Sabha poll while working out an alliance.
Both the DMK and DMDK have increased their pressure on the Congress seeking support for their candidates – Kanimozhi and A.R. Elangovan respectively – by deputing their senior leaders T.R. Baalu (DMK) and Sudheesh (brother-in-law of DMDK president Vijayakant) to senior Congress leaders here.
Mr. Baalu, who is the DMK’s parliamentary party leader, met Defence Minister and Congress troubleshooter A.K. Antony at South Block here on Saturday and reminded him about the letter written by DMK president M. Karunanidhi to party president Sonia Gandhi seeking support for Kanimozhi.
This is the second such meeting of Mr. Baalu with the Congress leaders, after the Congress-DMK split early this year, as he met her only on June 19.
Mr. Baalu also gave a cheque for Rs. 25 lakh from the DMK to Mr. Antony towards the Prime Minister National Relief Fund for undertaking relief works in the flood-affected Uttarakhand.
Mr. Sudheesh too met a few senior Congress leaders and sources said any decision taken by the Congress this time might have implications for an alliance for the Lok Sabha poll too.
A senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu said the high command had just concluded several rounds of discussions with the party seniors in the State/from the State on the pros and cons of supporting the DMK or the DMDK vis-à-vis firming up alliance for LS poll.
“The exercise of seeking opinion of various leaders is over and Ms. Gandhi might announce her decision in a day or two”, he said.
While the DMK has already secured support of 4 MLAs of other parties (two each from MNMK and Puthiya Tamizhagam) and got 23 members with it (adding up to 27), the DMDK is having only 22 (minus 7 rebel MLAs).
Even if the five Congress MLAs supported the DMDK it is not sure whether the DMDK candidate can sail through.
This was the feedback the high command obtained from the State leaders and everyone indicated to the party that AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa might take a dramatic decision regarding the sixth RS seat as the rebel DMDK MLAs might pay heed to her words than to DMDK chief Vijayakant.
Meanwhile, former Congress MLA from the State A. Chellakumar, who was recently appointed party Secretary in charge of Goa and Karnataka, met Ms. Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi to thank them for the appointment.