The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rajiv case thorn in DMK ties

New Delhi, May 26: Amid reports that the Congress is secretly exploring a tie-up with the DMK for next year’s Lok Sabha election, the party leadership has revived an old demand that could nix the alliance.

A Congress delegation comprising Manmohan Singh, Arjun Singh and Pranab Mukherjee met deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani today to press for an extension for the multi-disciplinary monitoring agency constituted over four years ago to probe the conspiracy angle in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

A party spokesman said Advani agreed to extend the tenure of the monitoring agency. The Congress decision to send a delegation to Advani came as a surprise since the home ministry would have extended the agency’s tenure anyway.

The move comes at a time when the DMK is thought to be moving away from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance with rival ADMK keen to replace it in the ruling coalition. Some Congress leaders had been following these developments and were considering teaming up with the DMK. “As long as the DMK is part of the NDA we can not publicly talk about aligning with it. But aligning would be an option if the DMK parts company with the BJP,” a senior leader had recently said.

But today’s meeting could change all that. The Congress and DMK have exchanged angry words in the past, with the former pointing a finger at the Dravidian party over Rajiv’s assassination. The Congress withdrew support to the I.K. Gujral-led United Front government after the Jain Commission report on the assassination made adverse remarks about the DMK.

The AICC general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu, Kamal Nath, had recently hinted at a poll alliance with the DMK. But Arjun Singh, who was part of today’s delegation, later raised doubts about the tie-up.

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