Dayanidhi Maran can be seen sitting right next to Karunanidhi during rallies, and A Raja continues to campaign in his key districts.

Why hasnt DMK sidelined Maran and A Raja if it is serious about countering its corrupt image
news TN 2016 Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 13:05

On April 24, Karunanidhi arrived at the DMK citadel of Saidapet to kick-off his campaign for the 2016 polls, which could be the nonagenarian’s last election battle. As he rolled on to the stage on his wheelchair, he was flanked by key figures in the DMK. He made a blistering attack on Jayalalithaa for running a corrupt government in his address, and right beside him, helping him turn the pages of his speech copy, was a the ever-grinning grandnephew Dayanidhi Maran.

The irony of Karunanidhi taking on Jayalalithaa over corruption with Maran sitting right beside him, was lost on very few. Dayanidhi, and his brother Kalanidhi, are under investigation for several alleged scams in the telecom sector.

In the following weeks, A Raja, the face of the sensational 2G scam, would travel across districts of Nilgiris, Perambalur and Ariyalur, campaigning for the DMK.

The question which needs to be raised here is why the DMK has not publicly distanced itself from A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, even as it goes hammer and tongs against Jayalalithaa for running a corrupt government.

It is largely agreed upon that the DMK’s embarrassing defeat in 2011 polls was due to the corruption taint, and in spite of that the DMK has not taken the necessary recourse, point out political analysts.

“The two of them are seen in few election campaigns, so I don’t think it can be said that the party has distanced itself from the 2G campaign,” says veteran journalist and observer TN Gopalan, and talks about how the DMK instead chose caste-politics to defend A Raja, “DMK gave it a Dalit angle. They said he was being targeted because he was a Dalit.”

“As for Dayanidhi Maran, the party stand was that they will not publicly defend him for the charges faced by him but politically, he will still part of the party. Basically, I think they thought Dayanidhi Maran has the resources to defend himself but otherwise he is very much part of the party,” says journalist and observer S Murari.

Political analyst Ramu Manivannan also says that the DMK has never isolated them. “They are already working together. DMK never distanced itself from them. How many people can be isolated for corruption charges?” he asks.

Explaining why the DMK can never really isolate A Raja or Maran, TN Gopalan says, “A Raja’s money will always be helpful for the party. He was responsible for their defeat in 2011. But DMK is never going to isolate him for that. It does not matter what you sell as long money sells in politics,” and adds that he does not believe A Raja or Maran could hamper the DMK’s electoral chances in 2016.

A DMK insider recently told TNM that it was not Karunanidhi’s style to cut anyone of completely – A Raja has been restricted three districts, and Maran is not campaigning on his own like he usually does, the insider pointed out. But the statement only goes to show the desperation of the patriarch in having to keep the two leaders in the party’s fold. Isn’t this but an excuse for the DMK, one which could cost them immensely in a crucial poll?


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