Baalu finds no support from DMK, Karunanidhi family for cabinet berth

May 26th, 2009 - 8:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By T.G. Biju
New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) DMK leader T.R. Baalu served as central minister for nearly a decade in two governments, but he is not likely to find a berth in the new central cabinet as no one in his party or party chief M. Karunanidhi’s family is backing him this time.

The DMK did not even mention Baalu’s name during discussions on finalising the party’s representatives in the central ministry, a senior party leader slated to become minister said here.

“No one in the DMK and Karunanidhi family argued for Baalu,” said the leader, who requested anonymity.

Baalu was last week appointed DMK’s parliamentary party leader, for both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. But a senior DMK leader termed as speculative the reports that Baalu would be chosen as the deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Baalu served as minister for shipping, road transport and highways in the Manmohan Singh government (2004-09) and minister for environment and forests in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On the other hand, former central minister A. Raja of DMK has got the strong support of Karunanidhi’s third wife Rajathi and their daughter Kanimozhi and his name has been finalised for a ministerial berth, according to party sources.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reportedly against including Baalu and Raja in the council of ministers. While Karunanidhi has dropped Baalu’s name, he has insisted on Raja, who has found support from Rajathi and Kanimozhi.

Karunanidhi had to consider how many people from his family should be made central ministers.

“The DMK patriarch had a tough time sorting out the dispute over the ministerial berth within the family,” said the DMK leader.

But the issue was settled as Kanimozhi told reporters Monday that she had opted out of the race.

According to the DMK sources, Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Azhagiri, his grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran and A. Raja are the party’s choices for the three cabinet posts.

They are likely to get the portfolios of chemicals and fertilisers, IT and communications, and textiles.

While Azhagiri had the backing of his mother, Karunanidhi’s second wife Dayalu Ammal, Maran got the support of Karunanidhi’s elder daughter Selvi.

Four DMK MPs - S.S. Palanimanickam, Jagathrakshakan, filmstar-turned-politician D. Napoleon and Gandhiselvan - will become ministers of state, said the sources.

When Manmohan Singh and 19 ministers took oath of office Friday, there were no DMK representatives among them as the differences within the family delayed the final choice.

For this reason, the DMK had initially wanted nine berths in the ministry, but the Congress insisted on allocating only seven - three as cabinet ministers and four as ministers of state - a formula it accepted Sunday.

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