Amid speculation of a widening rift, Finance Minister and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee met DMK chief M. Karunanidhi here Saturday and said the alliance between the two parties would continue.
'There is a lot of speculation whether the alliance between the Congress and the DMK is on and I want to say that this alliance is there. The alliance will continue and it will be strengthened,' Mukherjee told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting at Karunanidhi's residence comes in the wake of DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran's resignation as union minister Thursday in connection with the 2G scam and an imminent cabinet reshuffle. Maran was present at the meeting.
Mukherjee said: 'Whenever I come to Chennai, I make it a practice to call on leaders to discuss the political situation prevailing at that point of time.'
He, however, declined to answer queries on the proposed cabinet reshuffle and whether he discussed the issue with Karunanidhi.
The DMK, with 18 MPs, is a major constituent of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi. But Maran is the second DMK leader who has had to step down as minister. Former communications minister A. Raja is now in Tihar jail in connection with the 2G scam.
DMK leaders told IANS that the Congress would ask the party to provide replacements for the ministers who had put in their papers.
'The party will have no compulsion to support the UPA government if replacements for the party's union ministers who have quit the cabinet are not sought,' a party leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
V. Narayanasamy, minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office, and Tamil Nadu Congress chief K.V. Thangkabalu were also present at the meeting.