Nagercoil: Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President M K Stalin in Nagercoil. (PTI/File).
Upping the ante on the Congress, its alliance partner in Tamil Nadu DMK on Wednesday said if the grand old party wants to quit the combine it can do so, news agency PTI reported.
Ties between the DMK and Congress have been under strain over seat-sharing in local body polls with the Tamil Nadu Congress president K S Alagiri accusing the DMK of going against “coalition dharma”. The issue came to light when the DMK boycotted the Opposition strategy meeting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, NRC and NPR, convened by the Congress in New Delhi.
When asked about Congress' charge that DMK violated coalition dharma, DMK veteran leader Duraimurugan said, "if they want to quit, let them do so. How are we concerned, what is the loss for us?."
Duraimurugan further said that the party was not worried about Congress leaving the alliance and in particular he was not concerned.
When asked whether it will impact the votes in favour of DMK, he said his party will not be affected at all. "Do they have votes to make an impact?" he asked, in his sarcastic style.
Duraimurugan's statement came a day after his party colleague and former Union Minister T R Baalu said only time will tell whether ties with the Congress would go back to normalcy. When asked about Baalu's remarks, he said, "Baalu said only time will tell. But I have answered the question."
Stating that Alagiri’s criticism had upset the entire party, Baalu said, “It was a statement in bad taste. We consider it as a statement against our party chief (M K Stalin), so we did not attend their (Congress’s) meeting.”
Alagiri, on the other hand, sought to downplay the widening rift between the alliance partners. The DMK-led alliance had reduced the ruling AIADMK to just one Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu this summer.
Alagiri told reporters in Chennai that the reason for his party not getting some seats vis-a-vis the recent civic polls was not due to the Dravidian party's high command. It was owing to some functionaries at the local level, he said, adding, "we have to express our constraints. We do that and it is our duty."