Maran meets PM, fuels speculation of exit from cabinet

Union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, the former telecom minister in the first term of the UPA government, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday amid widespread speculation that the DMK leader, implicated in the 2G spectrum scam, is being shown the door leading out of the cabinet.

In fact, one report citing unnamed sources said Maran told Singh he would resign ''if push comes to shove'', in order to save the prime minister further embarrassment.

Maran himself dismissed talk of his offering to resign as speculative, saying the meeting was routine - ''It is nothing. I am a minister. The meeting was in connection with official work.''

Asked about the meeting, DMK parliamentary party leader T R Baalu too said, ''There is nothing to it. Maran merely shared information on his ministry.''

However, another report cited unnamed DMK sources to say that it was a ''matter of time'' before Maran resigned and that this could happen as early as next week. They said he would ''clarify'' his side of the 2G story before Singh, and would not quit ''under a cloud of suspicion''.

Maran was communications minister in the earlier UPA government (dubbed UPA-I) until he fell foul of the DMK leadership in feuding within the Karunanidhi family and was forced to step down in favour of the now-jailed A Raja, also of the DMK. Maran is the grand-nephew of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.