New Delhi: In an interesting political turn, BJP president Amit Shah will attend a memorial service for the late DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi while Congress president Rahul Gandhi will skip it. The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, will instead represent the Congress, which considers DMK a part of the larger Opposition.
“We have invited all parties,” DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi told this newspaper. The memorial service for Karunanidhi, which will be held at the YMCA Grounds in Chennai, would also be attended by TMC’s Derek O’Brien, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, among others apart from the Congress and BJP, sources said. Congress sources said though Mr Gandhi would be back from his foreign tour by the said date, he would not be attending the programme and Mr Azad would represent the party.
Mr Gandhi had been scheduled to attend an earlier meeting on Centre-state relations and federal issues, which the DMK had planned last month before Karunanidhi passed away on August 7.It might be recalled that the DMK had been an important part of the Opposition grouping till the elections to the deputy chairperson position were held. However, when polls to the Rajya Sabha position were announced it refused to allow its MP, Tiruchi Siva, to be fielded as the candidate. Sources had said that though Mr Siva had himself been quite keen, the DMK top leadership had shot it down. The party, however, had voted for Congress candidate B.K. Hariprasad.
Reports emanating from Tamil Nadu have also suggested differences between the Congress and the DMK over seat sharing in case of an alliance ahead of the 2019 polls. The DMK seems to have offered the Congress a mere four seats in Lok Sabha and only 24 in the Assembly polls.