2G scam: DMK sends emissary to Cong to stop Raja's sacking

Chennai/New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi on Sunday sent senior party leader and the state's Law Minister Durai Murugan as his emissary to New Delhi to hold negotiations with the Congress top brass, even as the clamour for Information Technology and Communications Minister A Raja's removal from the Union Cabinet continues to rise.

Murugan arrived in the Indian capital even as the senior members of the Congress Working Committee, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel met in Parliament to discuss and evolve a strategy to counter the opposition protest in Parliament over the 2G Spectrum allocation.

Murugan's visit has raised speculation that he may discuss the issue of the opposition demand for Raja's removal.

DMK sources, however, said the minister's visit is to meet counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu in the Mullaperiyar Dam case with Kerala, which is likely to come up before the Supreme Court this week.

Murugan's visit assumes significance in the context of the opposition parties, including BJP and the Left, threatening to stall Parliament till Raja is sacked from the Union Council of Ministers.

Meanwhile, a defensive Raja is in Chennai, meeting with Karunanidhi. According to sources, there is division within DMK on Raja.

While there are some in the party who believe that the charges of corruption should not be swept under the carpet and action, including axing Raja, should be taken if needed - there are others who believe that DMK should not succumb to pressure from both the Congress and the opposition and wait for the Prime Minister to arrive at a decision.

Raja has denied wrong doing in the context of 2G spectrum allocation, and has said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had not named him. He said people need to wait for the law to take its own course.

The case relating to the 2G spectrum allocation is to be taken up by the Supreme Court on Monday.

On Friday, Karunanidhi had defended Raja stating that he had only followed his predecessors, the telecom ministers during the NDA government.

One private television channel said that the DMK is considering names of people who could replace Raja, if he is asked to go.

The DMK is keen on retaining the telecom ministry even if Raja is sacked. Four names are reportedly doing the rounds as possible replacements. They are: Karunanidhi's daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi; party spokesperson and Lok Sabha MP TKS Elangovan; Lok Sabha MP A K S Vijayan and former Cabinet Minister T R Baalu.

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