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DMK wants a cabinet post — in lieu of Raja

Chennai, Nov 15 (IANS) A day after its A. Raja quit the cabinet over corruption charges, Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK insisted one of its other MPs should be inducted into Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

A senior DMK leader told IANS that the DMK-Congress arrangement was that it would get seven ministerial positions in the government – three cabinet ministers and four ministers of state.

‘We will continue to insist on that,’ the leader said on the condition of anonymity.

After Raja’s resignation, the communication and IT portfolio was taken over by Manmohan Singh. There is no indication how long he will hold it or who will get it — and when.

After he resigned Sunday night over the 2G spectrum controversy, Raja maintained he had done no wrong. He said he was quitting so that the opposition allows parliament to function normally.

The DMK source said no discussion took place between the DMK and Congress over Raja’s portfolio before he put in his papers.

‘We have not discussed the issue. Raja was asked to resign so that parliament functions smoothly as the opposition has been blackmailing the government,’ the DMK leader said.

In 2009 when Manmohan Singh formed his govenment, the DMK demanded that its T.R. Baalu and Kanimozhi be included in the cabinet. The Congress declined.

Baalu, who was the shipping minister in UPA-I, was not offered any cabinet berth in 2009.

Asked if the DMK would retain the telecom portfolio, the DMK leader said: ‘Why not?’

The source added: ‘If the Supreme Court gives a clean chit to Raja, then the DMK will demand reinstatement of Raja in his earlier position.’

Will the Raja episode affect the DMK’s fortunes in Tamil Nadu’s electoral battles, DMK leader Baalu told IANS: ‘There will be no impact at the state level.’

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