Chennai: Exactly 24 hours after DMK ministers officially walked out of the UPA government, the CBI raided the premises of DMK heir apparent, MK Stalin. The stated objective was to look for a missing imported car, on which import duty hadn't been paid. The DMK, however, called it political vendetta.
In an unprecedented move, just as the raids were being carried out at 8.30 am, Finance Minister P Chidambram came out in strong disapproval. "I strongly disapprove of this. It will add to allegations of misuse of the agency," he said. Chidambram's disapproval was almost like an instruction. The CBI immediately withdrew its raid and beat a hasty retreat.
The damage, however, had already been done. In Parliament, opposition parties, along with critical allies giving life support to the government, came out criticising the raids. The government tried to deflect attention, accusing local level officers of being behind the move.
But it wasn't as if all was lost for the UPA post the raids. After Chidambram's intervention, Karunanidhi came out with a statement giving the Centre the benefit of doubt.
The reason why Chidambaram went out of his way to reach out to the DMK and Karunanidhi was willing to give the benefit of doubt to the Centre was a desire on both sides to keep the window of further negotiations open. After all, there are no permanent friends, nor enemies in Indian politics.