Is the DMK a friend or foe of the BJP? It's a question that intrigues both party leaders as well as workers. In Tamil Nadu, the two parties are at each other's throats, while in Delhi the DMK is part of the NDA and a friend of the BJP. Trapped in between the two positions it has taken, the party is in a state of confusion from which old faithfuls say it will soon surface. But for now, the war of words has certainly hotted up. The statements and counter-statements issued by DMK chief M. Karunanidhi and BJP all-India secretary L. Ganesan over the last few weeks is testimony to the clash of ideological interests. Many DMK insiders say this will take its political toll, eventually leading to the DMK's exit from the NDA with its 12 MPs.
In Chennai, the inherent contradictions between the two parties is already coming to the fore. The DMK no longer sees any wisdom in economic reforms and Karunanidhi sees red every time there's a mention of the BJP's Hindutva drive. A few months ago, addressing a rally against the state's anti-conversion bill, Karunanidhi had said that a "Hindu means a thief". The state BJP threatened legal action for his "anti-Hindu" remarks. Subsequently, the Chennai police registered an FIR against the DMK chief for offences under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 298 ipc (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings). Ganesan even warned Karunanidhi: "Remember, these are not the 1970s."