The battle lines are being drawn clearly by leaders in both the Congress and the DMK as alliance partners continue to engage in a war of words. Despite Tamil Nadu Congress chief KS Alagiri attempting to soothe the tensions that he created, by claiming that the two parties are like 'joined hands', other party leaders are not ready to back down.
On Wednesday, DMK Treasurer Duraimurugan threw caution to the wind when asked about the Congress being miffed about seats allocated to it in the local body polls.
"If they want to leave, let them. What loss will the DMK face because of this?" he asked, seated near his son and Vellore MP Kathir. "We are not worried about the Congress leaving, especially not me. The number of votes we get will not be affected. It will only be affected if they have votes," he added, as the men around him laughed.
Responding to this, Congress leader and Sivaganga MP, Karti Chidamabram asked, "Why didn't this wisdom dawn before the Vellore parliamentary bye-election?"
These barbs come following a week of hostility between both alliance partners. It began with KS Alagiri alleging that the DMK was not distributing rural local body posts equitably to its allies. He told the media that not a single post had been allotted the Congress of the total 27 district panchayat chief posts. Following this, DMK President MK Stalin pointed out that his party has been supporting the Congress in every way it can. He stated that the DMK had even given the Congress Lok Sabha seats that it wanted to contest in.
The DMK, however, went onto boycott the anti-CAA meet organised by Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the capital.
Speaking to TNM, a DMK source, on the condition of anonymity, says, "We have given the Congress a long rope already and now we have to make our stand clear. They are making brash statements about seat sharing for the sake of their local leaders. They forget that they should be grateful to the DMK which allied with them and announced Rahul Gandhi as a Prime Ministerial candidate when nobody else would."
The DMK source further points out that this response from the DMK is crucial ahead of the state Assembly Elections in 2021.
"In 2016 we lost because we gave over 40 seats to the Congress and they didn't even win 10 of them. This time we need to make it clear that we will take a final call on seats to be shared," he says. "As far as missing the CAA event in Delhi goes, what matters to us is that people of Tamil Nadu know what we stand for," he adds.
According to the DMK, the boycott was also to alert the national Congress leadership about the party's displeasure.
"The Congress now has to show that DMK is a valued ally and reign in its local leader," he says.