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A Raja's arrest: The politics and calculations

Last updated on: February 3, 2011 08:24 IST

A Raja's arrest: The politics and calculations

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi

Andimuthu Raja, the Dalit face of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam who has been accused of corruption in the 2G Spectrum case spent his night in a lockup at the Central Bureau of Investigation headquarters.

Both his bedding and food came from his home with sources saying that the former telecom minister was as comfortable as he could possibly be.

The CBI says that during the course of its investigation it has come upon evidence, which can prove that corruption did take place. While the case will go on, politically the situation is a little more complicated than that.

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Image: Former Telecom minister A Raja
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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On Thursday, the DMK general council is meeting in Chennai. This is the executive political body of the party, where a decision to suspend A Raja from the party is likely to be taken.

A Raja stands virtually isolated within the party as almost all of Karunanidhi's family members are more than happy at the turn of developments in Delhi.

Except for Kanimozhi, others like Azagiri have gone to the extent of distributing sweets in the quiet of their homes.

Sources say that during his recent visit to Delhi where he met the Congress leadership, the DMK chief and state chief minister M Karunanidhi was informed of the impending arrest of A Raja.

Sources say that Home Minister P Chidambaram himself explained the matter to Karunanidhi to prepare the ground for what was to come.


Image: DMK Chief M Karunanidhi

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A Raja's arrest: The politics and calculations

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With the state elections in Tamil Nadu to be held in April end, there is now no time to change horses mid-stream.

The Pattali Makkal Katchi is aligning with the DMK, which gives them additional strength, but sources say that All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalitha is likely to use this as an election issue -- of how a Dalit is being targeted.

Sources say that the Congress would now use this opportunity to ask for more seats. In fact, it may arm twist the DMK to up to 75 seats, which will be a big jump from the 36 at present.

Sources say that for the moment the two parties are together even though there is a huge trust deficit at the moment with the DMK disinclined to trust the Congress party. For the moment though they are together at least till the elections.


Image: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalitha

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A Raja's arrest: The politics and calculations

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The Congress party in Delhi, which has been hit with scam after scam, is hoping to refurbish its image with the arrest of A Raja.

It hopes to dilute the BJP's case that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance is protecting the corrupt, that the prime minister and the government are not acting against corruption.

With the arrest it wants to signal that it has acted much more than any other government by arresting its own former minister, which would not have happened had the issue been taken up by the JPC.

A senior congress leader said that the results of the arrest would be known only on February 8 when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has called a meeting of Opposition leaders to discuss the matter and to persuade the opposition to let Parliament run.



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Along with this, an FIR has also been filed against former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in the Adarsh society scam.

It is likely that the CBI may move against Suresh Kalmadi in the Commonwealth Games scam. If Kalmadi is arrested as well, it will give the Congress more weight to crow about acting decisively against corruption.

But the Bharatiya Janata Party is so far not convinced. It has again changed the goal post by now targeting the prime minister and asking how and why he gave Raja a clean chit when facts were to the contrary.

The BJP wants to know how and why Dr Singh is not culpable if his minister Raja is? What's the reason behind delayed action? What did PM Singh do to stop A Raja before he incurred such a huge loss?


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi

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