M K Alagiri said sorry to Sonia Gandhi after DMK walked out


DMK leader M K Alagiri apologised to Congress president Sonia Gandhi immediately after resigning from the union cabinet, and told her he did not agree with his party's decision to pull out of the government.

A day later, sources said, Alagiri called on finance minister P Chidambaram and shipping minister G K Vasan, two senior Congress leaders from Tamil Nadu. The meetings were said to be courtesy calls, but they nonetheless triggered excitement in the Congress, given the ongoing battle of succession in the DMK.

As he emerged from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's office in Parliament after submitting his resignation on Wednesday, Alagiri is learnt to have come across Sonia in front of home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde's chamber. She greeted him with a "Namaste", and Alagiri, who was accompanied by party colleague D Napoleon, apologised for his party's decision, sources said.

On Thursday, Alagiri visited Vasan at his Western Court residence without an appointment and stayed for half an hour and had coffee. Sources present at the meeting said there was "no political talk", only "casual chit-chat".

A senior Congress leader said nothing should be read into Alagiri's meetings with Congress leaders. "In a cadre-based party like DMK, these things are very difficult."

DMK leaders denied differences in the party over withdrawal of support. "It is all fiction. Once Kalaignar has taken a decision, everybody accepts that," said a DMK leader.

Alagiri was not present when Congress leaders A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Chidambaram met Karunanidhi in Chennai. M K Stalin, Alagiri's rival within the DMK, was.

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