Burying differences on the Lankan Tamils issue that had rocked their nine-year-old alliance in 2013, Congress and DMK today decided to come together to fight the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.
The national party described the regional outfit as the “most dependable partner” as senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad formalised the alliance with DMK President M Karunanidhi here, three years after the latter snapped ties accusing the Congress of betraying the Sri Lankan Tamils.
“The party has decided at our national level and also at Karunanidhi ji’s level and other esteemed leaders of the DMK that we will be fighting this election together; we will have an alliance,” Azad told reporters after meeting the DMK chief at his Gopalapuram residence. The leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha heaped praise on Karunanidhi and DMK, calling him an “esteemed leader” and describing the party as “most dependable.”
Karunanidhi was an “esteemed leader” since the times of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, he said, adding that “DMK has always been and shall remain a most dependable partner”.
Asked what had changed between 2013 and 2016 for the two to join hands again, Azad said there were political “compulsions and pressures”. “It is not the first time we have gone with DMK. We’ve had partnerships on earlier occasions. Sometimes in politics there are compulsions and pressures,” he said while expressing confidence that the DMK-led coalition would emerge victorious in the state elections, where it takes on the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK.
Congress and DMK and other possible allies that join the coalition will form a “formidable combination”, he said.
Asked if the “other allies” referred to actor-politician Vijayakant’s DMDK, actively being wooed by both DMK and BJP, the Congress leader said that decision was for DMK to take. “DMK is the principal ally under whose leadership the polls will be fought and they will decide,” said Azad.
Since Congress and DMK have joined hands, more parties could come into the alliance, he added. In 2013, DMK had pulled out of UPA after its demand for strong amendments to a US-sponsored resolution in a UN body against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes and a resolution in the Indian Parliament were not heeded to by Congress.