Raja targeted as he’s a Dalit, says Karunanidhi

TNN, May 4, 2010, 04.53am IST

DELHI: DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday put his foot down against any move to sack A Raja as the telecom minister, saying the minister was being targeted because he was a Dalit.

“Raja is a Dalit. That is why dominant forces are levelling malicious charges against him,” Karunanidhi said when asked about the Opposition’s demand for Raja’s dismissal in the light of allegations of a mega-scam in 2G spectrum allocation.

Karunanidhi was talking to reporters after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and, early on, with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, though there was no confirmation that the issue of Raja’s continuation figured in the conversations.

Raja’s defence, which came on a day when AIADMK members with some backing from Opposition groups forced an adjournment of Lok Sabha over ‘spectrumgate’, raises the cost for Congress to insist on the removal of the telecom minister, while increasing the prospect of a continued confrontation. AIADMK demanded that the Prime Minister make a statement on the issue.

Congress, which has never been enthusiastic to defend the telecom minister against the charges of corruption, seems to be getting ready to stand by him.

“There is nothing in the realm of proof and credible evidence,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters while defending Raja. Hinting that acting against Raja would not be as easy as in the case of Shashi Tharoor, Singhvi pointed out that the telecom minister did not belong to Congress.

Another spokesman Manish Tiwari attacked the Opposition by recalling that the BJP had allowed mobile phone operators to migrate from the licence-fee paying regime to the revenue-sharing arrangement causing a massive loss of Rs 60,000 crore to the exchequer.

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