2G Scam Case: MK Kanimozhi's acquittal, say supporters, sets her up for a larger role in the party. (PTI)
Chennai: As a court in Delhi gave verdict in the 2G case
, acquitting all accused including former telecom minister A Raja and Rajya Sabha lawmaker MK Kanimozhi, workers of their party the DMK broke into celebration. In Chennai, as well as outside the Delhi court
where hundreds of them had gathered in a show of strength.
Politically, the acquittal comes as a massive boost for the party of 95-year-old M Karunanidhi, out of power in Tamil Nadu for the last six years, struggling with the taint of the 2G allegations
against its top leaders. A Raja spent a year in jail after being arrested in 2011.
MK Kanimozhi, Mr Karunanidhi's daughter and a two-time MP, was also accused of corruption in the case and was in jail for seven months. Seen as the literary heir of Karunanidhi, the 2G allegations and the jail term meant she was only given a marginal role in the DMK, while her half-brother MK Stalin established himself as working president with their father's health deteriorating.
2G Spectrum Scam: M Kanimozhi said she is headed home first to be with her family.
Ms Kanimozhi's acquittal, say supporters, sets her up for a larger role in the party. Hinting that she is ready for that larger role, Ms Kanimozhi said after the verdict, "Now I'll do all I can to strengthen the party and work for people of Tamil Nadu." In a statement she also said, "I was dragged in (this case) so that DMK is defeated in the election which was hardly five months away."
The 49 year-old said first she is headed home to be with family, describing it as a "great day for all party cadres".
A Raja, once known as Mr Karunanidhi's blue-eyed boy, can take his place back as the DMK's Dalit face.
2G Scam Case: A Raja had defended himself in court and cross-examined all the witnesses. (Reuters)
The verdict came on a day that polling is being held in a by-election for Chennai's VIP assembly constituency RK Nagar, the seat made vacant by the death in December last year of J Jayalalithaa. Still hurting from the re-election of Ms Jayalalithaa's AIADMK in May 2016 - unprecedented in Tamil Nadu which has alternately chosen the two parties for years - the DMK has fielded a strong candidate in Marudhu Ganesh against the ruling party, which is mired in a deep leadership crisis since the death of its powerful leader.
The AIADMK is fighting the RK Nagar by-election in the name of Jayalalithaa
(mother) as she was known to her millions of fans and supporters and to lose her seat will be a big blow. Results will be announced on Sunday, December 24.
With the 2G shadow lifted, new political possibilities open up for the DMK, which was also wiped out in the 2014 national election. A hint came last month when Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a courtesy call at the home of M Karunanidhi in Chennai. The Prime Minister invited the DMK chief to recuperate in Delhi at his residence.
PM Narendra Modi met M Karunanidhi at the DMK chief's Gopalapuram home in Chennai in November. (File)
It was seen as an attempt to pave the way for a possible political partnership later, with the BJP looking to expand its footprint in Tamil Nadu. It has explored a tie-up with the AIADMK, but that party has seemed rudderless without Ms Jayalalithaa.
The DMK has been a Congress ally for the last decade, save a brief spell in between, but was a BJP ally during the Atal Bihar Vajpayee regime from 1999 to 2004.
For now, however, senior leaders dismiss the possibility of a partnership with the BJP, calling it speculative. A senior party source pointed out that the Left parties, Vaiko's MDMK and the VCK have all backed the DMK in the RK Nagar by-election.
But a leader said, "If the BJP too woos us , that would give us better negotiation power with the Congress".