P Chidambaram, the architect of Stalin-Rahul bonhomie

When the likes of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar forecast a larger role for DMK working president M K Stalin, it was not the individual they were endorsing, but with it the resurgence of the Dravidian major.
P Chidambaram
P Chidambaram

Chennai

While dwarfing the national parties silently, M K Stalin’s DMK has resurfaced as an alliance leader in Tamil Nadu. The leaders’ statements were symptomatic of the national party’s willingness to ride piggyback on the Dravidian major, as they did while unseating the Vajpayee-led NDA government in 2004. 
Congress sources, who were witness to the camaraderie between Stalin and Rahul Gandhi during the latter’s recent state visit admitted that the instructions were quite clear from the AICC that the DMK’s writ would run large. Though Rahul advised functionaries at Satyamurthy Bhavan “not to bother about allies and work to strengthen the party” in the state, the Gandhi scion has given enough indications that they should not ruffle the feathers of the DMK. 
A Congress leader privy to the meeting said that Rahul had even advised his security managers to go easy when they reviewed arrangements for his just concluded visit to Stalin’s Cenotaph Road house.  The extraordinary warmth, even making time for a photo op with Stalin’s grandchildren shown by Rahul at Cenotaph Road and Gopalapuram, the same places he had consciously skipped during his previous visits to the state until a year ago, was proof of the importance the national party has been giving to the DMK in the era post-Jayalalithaa. 
Apart from the weight of the DMK’s organizational capabilities, plus the 89 solid seats in the state Assembly, what lured Rahul was the influence of former finance minister P Chidambaram. It was learnt that Chidambaram had put in a strong word on behalf of the DMK. The Dravidian major had reciprocated to Rahul’s kindness in Saturday’s rally by insisting on Chidambaram remaining on the dais. 
Despite the Congress trouble shooter offering to sit in VIP enclave among the audience, Stalin had insisted on Chidambaram sharing the dais, which, the DMK eventually did by making former DMK MP T R Baalu prevent Chidambaram from leaving the stage.  
DMK men told to keep track of roll revision 
The DMK has instructed its functionaries from booth to district level to fully engage themselves when Election Commission undertakes a comprehensive addition and deletion in the electoral roll next month. 
The party has also asked its functionaries to send a report to the headquarters on the steps taken by them on the electoral roll verification issue, said a statement issued from high command. DMK had already made numerous representations to the Election Commission regarding double entries and anomalies in the voters list in the state. The party had even petitioned against incumbent chief electoral officer Rajesh Lakhoni, accusing him of working in a manner prejudicial towards the Opposition parties and instead helping the ruling AIADMK. DMK’s onslaught against the EC, mainly the chief electoral officer started since the rescinded R K Nagar by-poll ahead of which the ruling party was allegedly caught distributing cash in chunks to voters. Stalin had even sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the money distribution for votes in RK Nagar by the two factions of the AIADMK. The by-poll was cancelled after Income Tax officials recovered documents revealing distribution of Rs 89 crore to voters in the constituency during a search on the premises of Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar.   Earlier, DMK working president had even released documentary and physical evidences showing anomalies in the electoral rolls. 

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