The stand-off between the Congress and the DMK, DMK buckled down

The DMK is right now caught in some major drama. The whole issue around the 2G scam and the involvement of the DMK Minister A Raja (still defended by the DMK and by Karunanidhi) has brought a lot of unwanted attention to the DMK. The DMK has been angry that the Congress Government in the center has not controlled the CBI, and is worried about the attention that the CBI is now paying to the transactions by Kalaignar TV, and the impending questioning of Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi. However, with all the media attention and the direct attention of the Supreme Court, the Congress cannot take any action that would seem to be impeding the progress of the probes being made by the CBI (along with the Enforcement Directorate) (further, after the setbacks over the CVC and case of black money, the Congress is hesitant about being further tarred by any corruption problems).
The DMK is being pushed further due to the rivalry between the family members of Karunanidhi, with Alagiri fighting with Stalin over who will be the heir, and both of them pushing against Kanimozhi because of the Raja connection. This succession battle and rivalry also has a bearing on the pressures within the party. Further, the DMK feels that the AIADMK is getting in a strong position, especially with the tie-ups that Jayalalitha has made. It in this position that the DMK is now weaker.

The Congress sensed the weakness being faced by the DMK, and decided to up the ante. The Congress consequently pushed the DMK for a total of 63 seats this time, instead of the 48 it contested last time (and also wanted the choice of selecting some of the seats as well). As would be expected, the DMK considers itself the super-senior partner, and was mightily upset by the demand of the Congress negotiators; the first reaction of the DMK command was to push back against the Congress. In the past, the DMK has managed to sway the Congress towards its favor, by threatening to withdraw support; however, this time the Congress could easily perceive that the DMK was no longer in such a commanding position, and hence stuck to its guns, refusing to bow down to the blackmail of the DMK. The Congress let is be known that it would be willing to scout for more partners (with parties such as the Samajwadi Party, out of power in both the state and the center willing to play ball), and even let rumors float about a tie up with the AIADMK. It took some time for the DMK to realize that it was playing a weak hand, and it would be scared of having the CBI after it with a hostile Central Government in place; it got a fig lead that the Congress negotiator Pranab Mukherjee made the first move, and hence decided to settle on the terms set by the Congress.
This is a drastic change in the power equations between the 2 sides, and unless the DMK comes back to power with a resounding majority in Tamil Nadu, it will have to face a Congress that realizes that it can start the process of dictating terms.

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