Mamata Banerjee's googly bowled to the Congress may well be a beamer too. But it may have the DMK trumpeting its reliability as an ally in the UPA. "Bitterly" reliable, after Karunanidhi's recent posturing during the petrol price hike demo in Chennai that his party is continuing in the alliance with "bitterness".
The latest political bombshell by the Trinamool that is being interpreted as an ally's vote of 'no confidence' in Manmohan Singh as an occupant of 7 Race Course Road and it's public suggestion that he be kicked upstairs to Rashtrapati Bhavan instead, has underscored an interesting tale of two allies. What a contrast between the Trinamool and the DMK; the DMK post 2G. One can flex its political muscle, the other just play along.
Mamata can come out of a meeting with Sonia Gandhi, go into a huddle with the man, kept as a standby, in case she plugs the plug, announce a new set of names of Presidential candidates, that includes the present Prime Minister and reject both the Congress' choices. Karunanidhi will go with what 10 Janpath decides.
Mamata can change the Railway Minister. Karunanidhi prefers not to even talk about filling in 2 vacancies created by the resignation of A.Raja and Dayanidhi Maran.
Mamata can have budgetary provisions rolled back. Karunanidhi will roll back his own veiled threat of a pull out over the petrol hike, in an hour.
At one level, Karunanidhi has always had high regard for Manmohan Singh's leadership. Remember, in 2004, it was Mr Singh who first broke bread with the DMK resulting in the sealing of a historic alliance with the party, more than a decade after the Rajiv assassination. Karunanidhi also enjoys a good rapport with the PM.
The DMK of 2012 is not the DMK of 2004, when it managed a hard bargain on both Cabinet representation and choice of portfolios. Not because the alliance under its captaincy won all the 39 seats in 2004 and the rainbow coalition's tally went down by about 9 seats in 2009. The 2G case that has seen Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and A.Raja as accused, has left the party in a bind. It can ill afford to be an aggressive ally, at least at this juncture.
And if the Mamata-Mulayam list is to be considered, the DMK may end up backing Kalam. One, he is from Tamil Nadu. Two, he is from the minority community. What's interesting is that before the last Presidential election, Jayalalithaa had earlier cobbled together like minded parties like the TDP and the Left and had backed Abdul Kalam for a second term. So although Sangma is the AIADMK's candidate now, if push comes to a shove, both Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa may end up on the same page!