Cabinet reshuffle: PM to sack Maran, Jayalalithaa effect?

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Dayanidhi Maran
New Delhi, Jun 26: The stranded UPA ally DMK is set to receive another blow from Congress as the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh plans to sack the Union Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran over his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum case.

Sources close to UPA camp reported that PM is likely to drop Maran during the cabinet reshuffle, which has been scheduled for next week. Manmohan Singh aims to give a fresh and corruption-free look for his ministry, which would end Maran's tenure.

Dayanidi Maran, who attended the Cabinet meet on Thursday, Jun 24 continued to deny the allegations as mere media campaign against him and his party. Moreover he served notice on media organisations which published the initial stories.

According to several media reports, Maran allegedly forced C Sivasankaran, owner of Aircel, to sell the telecom company to Maran's Malaysia-based friend T Ananda Krishnan in 2006. The reports added that Maran, during his tenure as a Communication Minister in UPA I government, issued spectrum lisences to Astro, a sister company of Maxis, soon after it purchased stake in Sun TV, which is owned by Maran's brother Kalanidhi Maran and family.

If PM opts to sack Maran from the ministry, it would be death blow to DMK, which has been going through its tough time due to 2G spectrum case and lose in the recent Assembly elections. Two of it top leaders, A Raja and Rajya Sabha MP and party supremo M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi are in Tihar jail in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.

Sources said that Congress party leaders have the opinion that Maran should be kept out of Cabinet over the allegations. Some leaders came out publicly with their demands against Maran. After the visit of AIADMK chief and Tamiul Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to New Delhi, Congress leaders have more confidence to act against DMK.

"The Congress will not drag the issue as it happened with Raja (A Raja). The moment the probe agency or the court raises a small finger against Maran, the party will signal him to quit," the Congress leader said.

During her meeting with PM Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa reportedly offered support to UPA if they drop Maran for the cabinet.

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