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Some reasons for the Congress-DMK tussle

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
May 22, 2009 17:30 IST
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The tussle between the Congress party and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will be very difficult to resolve. There are multiple reasons behind the break-up of talks in allotment of ministerial portfolios.

One of the more serious issues concerns Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's elder son M K Azhagiri who won the Madurai Lok Sabha seat this election.

In May 2008, Azhagiri was acquitted along with 12 others by a sessions court in a case relating to the murder of former DMK minister T Kiruttinan for want of reliable evidence.

Senior Congress ministers are objecting to his induction. "Can you imagine Pranab Mukherjee sitting next to Azhagiri in the Cabinet?" asked a senior Congress leader, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Congress leaders highlighted the fact that Azhagiri is not very educated and does not have the qualification or experience to hold a Cabinet portfolio. Also, he hardly knows English or Hindi, the language frequently used in New Delhi.

More than the language issue, Congress leaders believe that first timers should not be made Cabinet ministers. For the same reason, the Congress is also reluctant to induct Karunanidhi's youngest daughter Kanimozhi in the Cabinet. The Congress party has many veteran MPs waiting for years to become ministers.

During the final rounds of negotiations, the DMK insisted on ministries like information technology, railways, health, telecommunications and surface transport. All five ministries are prone to corruption and need good governance.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
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