Despite DMK snub, PM says alliance is strong

Chennai: Hours after DMK chief M Karunanidhi chose not to receive him at the airport in Chennai, the Congress party's alliance with the DMK is "as strong as ever" said the Prime Minister today.

Dr Manmohan Singh was in Chennai to inaugurate the 98th Science Congress this morning. Before that, he did meet Mr Karunanidhi at the city's Raj Bhawan. This was their first meeting since DMK leader A Raja was forced to resign as Telecom Minister in November because of massive corruption charges in the 2G spectrum scam.

Mr Raja is seen to be a favourite of the DMK leader. Raids in connection with the 2G scam have included Mr Raja's homes and offices, as well as the offices of some close associates of the DMK in Chennai, including senior journalists and a non-profit organization that enjoys the patronage of Mr Karunanidhi's daughter, Kanimozhi, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP. Through this, the DMK has said that its relationship with the Congress - with whose support it is in power in Tamil Nadu - remains strong. The DMK also defended Mr Raja at a series of public rallies in December.

Last night, Mr Karunanidhi skipped both the airport and a scheduled one-on-one meeting, opting instead to attend a poetry function. This morning, he was unruffled about that missed appointment. 

"(The relationship) It is as strong as the ties between you (media) and me," he told reporters after meeting Dr Singh.

Mr Karunanidhi's perceived snub to the PM is being reported as payback for the last-minute glitch that the DMK has seen, courtesy the union government, for its pet project - the Adyar Eco Park. The Environment ministry in Delhi has delayed its approval for the park. The PM was meant to inaugurate the eco park this morning, but last week, his office conveyed this would not be possible.