Friday, 8 July 2011

DMK will not replace Maran, Raja in Cabinet

New Delhi:  The DMK has lost two ministers in the Cabinet in eight months, but sources say the party is not considering replacing A Raja or Dayanidhi Maran with other candidates for now.

Mr Raja resigned in November; he has been accused of corruption and of engineering India's biggest swindle, the 2G telecom scam; Mr Maran resigned yesterday, again on the basis of corruption charges pertaining to his stint as Telecom minister before Mr Raja took over the ministry from him in 2007.

Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is expected to meet DMK leader M Karunanidhi tomorrow.

After Mr Maran quit as Union Textiles Minister yesterday in Delhi, Mr Karunanidhi told reporters in Chennai that he had not sent a list of candidates to replace him to Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minister.  His comments came amidst speculation that senior DMK leader TR Baalu would be inducted into the cabinet at the next reshuffle, expected shortly.

Mr Karunanidhi is Mr Maran's grand-uncle. Sources close to the DMK President say that for now, his priority remains his daughter, Kanimozhi, who is in jail along with Mr Raja for allegedly accepting a bribe along with him from a company that won undue favours when Mr Raja allotted mobile network licenses and spectrum in 2008.

Kanimozhi was taken into Tihar Jail in Delhi in May,  a day after the DMK was routed in the Tamil Nadu state elections.  Mr Karunanidhi was voted out as Chief Minister.

The DMK fought the election with the Congress.  The dismal performance of the alliance and the arrest of Kanimozhi by the CBI have been strangling the partnership that Mr Karunanidhi holds with the Congress at the Centre.  With 18 Lok Sabha MPs, his party is a formidable partner in the Congress-led UPA coalition.

Sources say that in end-July, the DMK will hold an executive meeting to decide whether to continue its alliance with the Congress

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