Many in the Congress in Tamil Nadu were taken by surprise by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s visit to Chennai and his meeting with DMK leader M. Karunanidhi.

Mr. Azad has a programme at the Christian Medical College in Vellore on Friday and he made a stopover in Chennai to call on Mr. Karunanidhi.

He was received at the airport by former TNCC president K.V. Thangkabalu, a known pro-DMK Congress leader, and a close friend of Mr. Azad. Mr. Thangkabalu accompanied him to Mr Karunanidhi's CIT colony residence.

Even though TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan was informed about Mr. Azad's programme and he arranged accommodation for his security personnel, he did not accompany him to meet Mr. Karunanidhi. Neither the supporters of Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram nor those of Union Shipping Minister Vasan (both have a substantial following among the Congressmen) were aware of Mr. Azad's visit. In fact, none of the second-line Congress leaders knew about the meeting.


This article has been edited to incorporate the following correction:

Ghulam Nabi Azad has been wrongly described as Union Home Minister in the report, “Azad meet with Karunanidhi surprises many” (Jan. 10, 2014, some editions). It should have been Union Health and Family Welfare Minister.