In a re-affirmation of DMK’s commitment to be part of a front against the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, DMK president M K Stalin and his sister Kanimozhi called on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Sunday, ostensibly to wish her on her birthday, but more to consolidate the DMK ties with the UPA.
At a time when the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are looking at new allies as part of an anti-BJP front, the meeting of DMK leaders with Sonia Gandhi in Delhi is considered crucial and important from the point of building a strong Congress-led UPA first.
Unlike parties like SP and BSP which are outside the UPA, the DMK is regarded as an integral part of the UPA, with DMK leaders constantly maintaining that it regarded the alliance with the Congress, forged in Tamil Nadu, for the 2016 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, as continuing. Recently, DMK treasurer Durai Murugan said the DMK and Congress were electoral allies.
The Congress is keen that at the national level, its allies like the DMK, NCP and JD(S) be part of the Congress-led UPA which would then talk to other prospective partners from a position of strength.
In the past, it was said that Stalin had not openly come out in support of Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate for the LS polls. The DMK had maintained that the Congress itself had not positioned Rahul Gandhi as such, and therefore the situation of the DMK projecting him as PM candidate would be taken up later.
However, the Congress would like the DMK to endorse projecting Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate of the UPA so that it could get a boost ahead of its meetings with other parties outside the fold of the UPA.
In that context, today’s Delhi meeting is considered significant as the DMK could take an important step towards acceptance of Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate.
For the external world, the DMK has said that its leaders called on Sonia to greet her on her birthday and also to invite Sonia and Rahul to the function organized by the DMK for December 16 to unveil the statue of M Karunanidhi in Chennai.