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NEW DELHI: Ahead of the crucial high-level committee meeting of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to be held in Chennai on Friday, DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Thursday and discussed the DMK-Congress relationship, poll debacle, and the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that has been criticised by the DMK leadership for quite some time.
Later Mr. Baalu told The Hindu that during the meeting which lasted about 15 minutes, various issues concerning the debacle of the DMK-Congress alliance in the recent Tamil Nadu Assembly election were discussed.
“We generally discussed the reasons for the reverse in the results in the last minute, and the factors behind this, as we have not discussed these issues with our ally after the poll,” he said.
Asked whether he took up the issue of the CBI's preliminary enquiry against Union Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran regarding the controversy surrounding the Aircel-Maxis deal when he was the Communications and Information Technology Minister, Mr. Baalu said: “We did not discuss that issue, but I generally highlighted the way the CBI is functioning,” he said.
The DMK MP, who was the Shipping and Transport Minister in the UPA-I regime, was asked whether the DMK might withdraw support to the UPA-II during its meeting on Friday.
“We will discuss various issues post-Tamil Nadu Assembly poll. It is for the party leadership to decide on the next step,” he said.
Mr. Baalu, who is a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), probing the allocation of the 2G spectrum licences, had reportedly asked CBI Director A.P. Singh, who was deposing before the JPC on Wednesday, not to take the names of Communication Ministers in his presentation before the Committee. He is said to have intervened when Mr. Singh was mentioning the period when Arun Shourie [of the Bharatiya Janata Party] was the Communications Minister. It was said that Mr. Baalu had apparently made the observation to pre-empt the CBI chief from naming Mr. Maran, who became Communications Minister after Mr. Shourie.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan refused to answer speculative questions on the DMK's meeting. She told journalists: “We will react when we know the outcome of the meeting.”
On Mr. Maran's continuance in the Cabinet in the wake of Opposition demands for his removal, she said it was the Prime Minister's prerogative to decide who should be in the Ministry. The charges against Mr. Maran were allegations that had so far remained in the public domain. “Let the law take its course,” she said.
BJP general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan lashed out at the UPA-II government for the continuance of Mr. Maran as Minister despite his name cropping up in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
While the former Communications Minister, A. Raja, and Common Wealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi had quit their posts, why was Mr. Maran still continuing, Mr. Pradhan sought to know.
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