[Reader-list] How cabinet berths are decided

SJabbar sonia.jabbar at gmail.com
Fri Nov 19 21:32:49 IST 2010

radia tapes
Who Do You Want Congress To Talk To? Karunanidhi? I¹ll Speak To Ahmed
Vir Sanghvi, HT advisory editorial director

Niira Radia: Hi.

Vir Sanghvi: Hi, can you talk?

NR: Yeah, yeah. Okay.

VS: You know, Maran did not meet Sonia.

NR: He did not.

VS: He won¹t meet Sonia, he¹s been there, they say  we¹re not treating him
as official spokesperson at all. He called just now, I  saw your message, he
is calling up Ghulam Nabi Azad every half an hour and  making new demands.
As far as we¹re concerned, there are two wives, one  brother, one sister,
one nephew, it¹s all got very complicated for us. We¹ve  made a basic offer,
if Karunanidhi responds to us and tells us he¹d like to  respond directly,
he¹d like to talk to Mrs Gandhi, we¹d be happy. He spoke  only to Manmohan
Singh. We¹ve told Maran they¹ve to come back to us and tell  us what they
think of our offer. And, apparently the DMK is getting very bad  press in

NR: Hmm.

VS: So, he said we¹re going to wait for two days. Let them  come back, we¹re
of the line that this is not a Congress-DMK problem, this is  an internal
DMK problem because they can¹t get their act together between all  his wives
and children and nephews. He¹s got to get his act together and  nominate one
person and we¹d be very happy to deal with him. We¹re not happy  with this
Maran who keeps calling up Ghulam Nabi and saying Œtalk to me, talk  to me¹.
They are not taking him seriously.

NR: Very interesting. I¹m glad you spoke to Ghulam Nabi,  did you?

VS: I spoke to Ahmed (Patel). Ghulam Nabi is not a very key  figure. Ahmed
is the key figure.

NR: Right.

VS: Yeah. So, Ahmed says Ghulam has been dealing with Maran.  But Ghulam is
not our official person and we¹re not taking Maran seriously. As  far as
they are concerned, they¹ve asked for five crucial ministries, it¹s  an
idiotic and unreasonable demand. We¹ve made them a perfectly reasonable
demand. Now, it is for Karunanidhi to get back to us, Kani to come and see
us,  anyone can come and see us and say I¹ll put you on the line with my
father et  cetera, lines are, doors are, open to her. But we can¹t have a
situation where  Maran keeps calling us and saying I¹m the person and
telling Ghulam, I want  this, I want that, who is Maran?¹

NR: Hmm.

VS: Maran has gone back apparently today to Chennai?

NR: Yeah. He has gone back.

VS: Ahmed says, ŒWe told him, we told Maran also that  we¹ll deal with
Karunanidhi, so he has gone back. So, they are quite hopeful,  they say, we
made a very reasonable offer, we have lot of regards for  Karunanidhi, we
would like to deal with him. We have no regard for Maran.¹


VS: Hello.

NR: Sorry to disturb you. They had a meeting.

VS: Okay.

NR: M.K. Narayanan had come. And as suggested it was Kani  only. But they
are still stuck to their four formula and one independent.

VS: Okay.

NR: But these people will also think about it and let him  know tomorrow
morning. He (Ahmed Patel) clarified everything.

VS: Okay, very good.

NR: I think that there was no issue and there was lot of  relief from the
chief minister¹s side. And he realised that, you know, this is  all being
done by...

VS: By Maran.

NR: Yeah. But the thing is that it appears that he is still  under a lot of
pressure to take Maran, you know.

VS: Where is this coming from, this pressure?

NR: It¹s coming from Stalin and his sister Selvi.

VS: Okay.

NR: I believe Maran has given Rs 600 crores to Dayalu,  Stalin¹s mother.

VS: It¹s hard to argue with that kind of pressure.

NR: Isn¹t it? But if they stick to three and want one  independent charge,
then Kani gets an independent and then Azhagiri, Baalu and  Raja come in.

VS: That is not so bad, you know.

NR: Yeah, so I think.

VS: Unless Maran is one of the cabinet.

NR: Yeah. But I don¹t think he can give it to three family  members. That
will send a very wrong signal.


VS: Hi, Niira.

NR: Hi, Vir. Where are you, Delhi or...

VS: I am in Jaipur. Coming back this evening.

NR: Okay. I¹ve been talking to my Tamil Nadu friends. I  don¹t know whether
you are in the position to get through to anyone at  Congress. I met Kani
just now.

VS: I was supposed to meet Sonia today but I¹ve been stuck  here. So, now
it¹s becoming tomorrow. I¹ve been meeting with Rahul, but tell  me...

NR: They are not understanding that they are actually  communicating with
the wrong guy. Not because I detest Maran but actually the  father has not
nominated Maran to negotiate. Now, you know, it¹s like a banana  republic
where the cabinet...

VS: Then why has Maran become the face, they all hate Maran.

NR: No, he¹s not. I know. But the Congress is under  another impression.
They have already apparently indicated to Maran that the  prime minister
will not give infrastructure to DMK. But he is desperately  pushing for an
infrastructure berth himself.

VS: Right.

NR: But the problem is that there is a leader which is  Kani¹s brother who
is Azhagiri who¹s won that election and he is a mass  leader. He controls
half of Tamil Nadu. And the father cannot afford to upset  him because...

VS: Obviously...

NR: Simply because of his position.

VS: Yeah.

NR: Right now the Congress doesn¹t seem to be  understanding this.

VS: So, who should they talk to?

NR: They need to talk directly to Karunanidhi. They need to  talk to Kani.

VS: Let me try and get through to Ahmed.

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