The DMK leadership finally took the “painful decision to sacrifice” communications and IT minister A. Raja in order to prevent any strains in the relations with the Congress as Tamil Nadu gets ready for the state elections expected early next year, informed sources said.
Already some Congress seniors in the state, such as former Union minister E.V.K.S. Elangovan, had been openly demanding that Mr Raja should quit as IT and telecommunication minister in view of the CAG indictment and the observations made by the Supreme Court. “How can the CBI investigation into the spectrum scam be effective and pressure-free if Raja continues to captain the telecom ministry?” asked Mr Elangovan.
More importantly, the Congress leadership had indicated to DMK president and chief minister M. Karunanidhi that the Prime Minister would like to avoid any ruckus to disrupt his statement before the Parliament on Monday morning on the recent visit of US President Barack Obama and also the G-20 meet in Seoul. “The DMK was told that Raja could be brought back once the CBI clears his name in the spectrum probe,” a highly placed source said.
“It would be tough to face the coming (state) elections with Raja still in office,” said a state Congress senior. “Jayalalithaa will tear us to pieces. She has started that job already,” he said.
Since her campaign would hit the DMK more than the Congress during the crucial polls, the DMK leadership has now directed Mr Raja to step down, he reasoned. Sources said the Jaya factor had also weighed while delaying that directive as the DMK did not want it to seem like a knee-jerk response to her offer of support of “18 MPs and even more” to sustain the UPA government.
“The DMK leadership waited till the Congress asserted that the DMK is its chosen ally. Gulam Nabi Azad declared that there is no vacancy in Tamil Nadu alliance. After that, the DMK has now reciprocated by offering Mr Raja’s resignation in order to save the Congress from further embarrassment inside Parliament and outside,” said a party source.