CHENNAI : DMK cadre were turned into a confused lot over the space of about an hour by their leader M Karunanidhi.
They had cheered wildly for what they understood was their leader’s threat to pull out of the UPA if it failed to roll back the recent hike in petrol prices.
But when word spread a short while later that Karunanidhi had denied saying any such thing, they did not know what to believe.
“Did he not say that very thing in front of us? I have no idea what he meant when he got back to Arivalayam and said he did not say that,” wondered K Elango, a DMK trade unionist.
“We have been wanting our leader to break ties with the Congress even before the Assembly polls. The Congress is the reason we lost everything. I believe my leader when he says he did not make such a statement, but I would personally like him to take the feelings of the cadre into account. This was made apparent when we cheered when he said we would part ways,” Elango added.
Functionaries of the party chose to play it safe, attacking questions over Karunanidhi’s statement rather than answer them.
“Why do you ask us what he meant? Were you not there when the leader was speaking? Don’t you know Tamil?” a senior party functionary asked this reporter.
When pressed further, he fell back on a cryptic answer. “Wait and watch, it will all become clear,” he said.
Others though, were more candid.
“We were so happy we went and had a beer to celebrate. But when we heard his statements from the party office, we immediately lost our high,” said an area secretary angrily, on condition of anonymity.
“He is a master at political games. But he should not be playing them with us. He must come out and clarify what he meant. Are we to interpret this as a refusal to give up power, no matter what the cadre think?” he added.