Radia Tapes – Barkha Dutt, Group Editor NDTV

(Source : http://www.outlookindia.com)

May 22, 2009 09:48:51

Barkha Dutt: Hi Niira

Niira Radia: Hi, did I wake you up?

Barkha Dutt: No, no, no. I’ve been up, yaa, most of the night. The stalemate continues, yaa.

Niira Radia: Yeah. Listen, the thing is that they need to talk to him directly. That is what the problem is.

Barkha Dutt: Apparently now, the message from the other side is, that why did he go? Why did Baalu [T.R. Baalu, former DMK minister] go public? They claim that at this point will they had offered him this formula and this guys said, “no”. This guys never told them they were going to withdraw support. Not withdraw support. But outside support. Apparently, PM was really pissed off ‘ cause they had went public.

Niira Radia: But that’s Baalu’s doing, naa… he was not instructed by Karunanidhi to do that.

Barkha Dutt: Oh, he wasn’t?

Niira Radia: This is not. He was told to come away and tell Congress that.

Barkha Dutt: And he went public

Niira Radia: Well, the media… media, the media was standing outside.

Barkha Dutt: Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?

Niira Radia: I’ll tell you what it is—the problem and I have had a long chat with both his wife and with the daughter, right?

Barkha Dutt: Haan, haan.

Niira Radia: The problem is if the Congress has a problem with Baalu, if they have no problem with anyone. They need and go talk to Karunanidhi. They have very good relationship with Karunanidhi directly.

Barkha Dutt: Correct, haan.

Niira Radia: Because you see, in front of Baalu, in front of Maran, they can’t talk.

Barkha Dutt: Yeah

Niira Radia: So they have to tell him directly, there [are] enough Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu. They need to go in and tell him exactly—the biggest problem is that the following of Azhagiri is saying that you cannot give Maran a cabinet post and keep Azhagiri in the MoS state.

Barkha Dutt: That’s right. But will Karuna drop Baalu?

Niira Radia: He… look, if you tell him that Baalu is the only problem. I would imagine, he will drop him.

Barkha Dutt: But you see the problem right now is also over the choice of portfolios, naa…

Niira Radia: No. They’ve not said anything. The portfolios have not even got discussed.

Barkha Dutt: Congress claims, for whatever it’s worth, that the DMK wanted surface transport, power, IT, telecom, railways and health.

Niira Radia: Wo tho pehle se list gaya tha

Barkha Dutt: Haa, abhi Congress has offered IT, telecom, chemical, fertilizer and labour

Niira Radia: Yes

Barkha Dutt: So this is where it’ll stand off. Will DMK accept all (or both)?

Niira Radia: Maybe no, because they have to drop Maran if you want them to be accept… Maran is wishing coal and mine.

Barkha Dutt: Who’s wishing?

Niira Radia: Now Maran is saying, you give me coal and more mine. If he.. my honest advice to… is that you need to tell them… tell him directly that we are happy because Kani (M.K.Kanimozhi, Karundanidhi’s daughter) got no issue about being even as independent but Azhagiri is now telling her that you cannot take an independent charge if Maran remains cabinet minister. And congress is sending messages through media and through various sources saying that… Maran is going around telling everyone that he is the only acceptable person.

Barkha Dutt: Ya, ya, ya. That I know.

Niira Radia: But that’s not correct na?

Barkha Dutt: No, I know and we’ve (NDTV) have taken that off… We’ve have taken that off.

Niira Radia: But also… Congress needs to tell Karunanidhi that we have not said anything about Maran

Barkha Dutt: OK. let me talk to them again

Niira Radia: Yeah? The choice of candidate we will leave to you. We have some reservation about Baalu. And let them tell the reservation. And we have not said anything about Maran. We are not asking…

May 22, 2009 10:47:33

Barkha Dutt: I think they have told Maran.

Niira Radia: Yeah, now what they need to do is, they need to speak to Kani so she can set up the discussion with her father, because even the Prime Minister’s discussion was … she was the one who’s translating, and it was a very brief discussion for two minutes.

Barkha Dutt: Okay.

Niira Radia: That we’ll try and work it out, and the let’s not you know take it any hasty easy decision. That’s the type of conversation that happened.

Barkha Dutt: No, I’ll set it up as soon as they get out of RCR.

Niira Radia: What she saying is that, you know, that someone senior like Ghulam [Nabi Azad, senior Congress leader]—because he is the one who is authorised to speak. ….

Barkha Dutt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Niira Radia: Right? Was to speak to her then she can tell her father that I have got this message from the Congress.

Barkha Dutt: Theek hai, not a problem. That’s not a problem, I’ll talk to Azad—I’ll talk to Azad right after I get out of RCR [Race Course Road, presumably, the PM’s residence].

Niira Radia: Yeah, and then she said when father lands, I can speak to him.

Barkha Dutt: Okay.

Niira Radia: And the problem is that the congress is not understanding that nobody is coming and telling my father anything so they are talking…

May 22, 2009 15:31:29

Barkha Dutt: Nirra?

Niira Radia: Hi

Barkha Dutt: Now, their saying, “We’ll take whoever!”

Niira Radia: Whoever matlab? It doesn’t matter Maran or whoever? Baalu or Raja or anything na?

Barkha Dutt: Ha, now their saying that

Niira Radia: But tell me one thing..

Barkha Dutt: I’ve had a long chat and they promised me that Azad will speak to him

Niira Radia: Who? Ghulam?

Barkha Dutt: Ghulam. Yeah.

Niira Radia: You know, the problem is she’s catching a flight at five, haan? Going back. Dayanidhi Maran is attending the swearing in when only Raja has been authorised to attend, so he’s gone and told his leader that Ahmed Patel has called me especially to attend the swearing in.

Barkha Dutt: Ahmed says this is rubbish…

Niira Radia: But I am telling you but this. Karunanidhi’s very confused.

Barkha Dutt: No, but why can’t Kani stay also and attend it?

Niira Radia: She doesn’t want to attend no because her father told her to come back. She has to follow what she’s father says, no?

Barkha Dutt: Let me call Ghulam then. Let me call him.

Niira Radia: Tell him she’s leaving at five. She’s catching a flight at five.
May 22, 2009 18:09:16

Barkha Dutt: Ha, not true!

Niira Radia: I don’t know where she’s (Navika Kumar from Timesnow) getting this from?

Barkha Dutt: No, but the thing is it fits with the Congress formula. So it might be a…

Niira Radia: Congress is already…

Barkha Dutt: No, you see Congress’s only condition is … DMK should not get surface transport, beyond individuals. Right?

Niira Radia: Correct, correct, and they are not individuals. Let me tell you one thing’s for sure. 3 plus 4 was yesterday; because of Maran, they wanted to make it 4 plus 3.

Barkha Dutt: Okay!

Niira Radia: So, now it is back to… 3 plus 4 was already what was on the table!

Barkha Dutt: No, so why does this formula not sound right then?

Niira Radia: Because of Azhagiri naa! He’s not got cabinet.

Barkha Dutt: Oh, Azhagiri got what, according to these things?

Niira Radia: You see, according to her, he’s got Health, but he can’t be cabinet. Either Maran is not cabinet, either Raja is not cabinet or Baalu’s not.

Barkha Dutt: Azhagiri’s got Health and that’s a big compromise by Congress because they said we won’t give them Health. So that’s their face saver. No, but Azhagiri, Health can be cabinet?

Niira Radia: Agreed, but then Raja is MoS.

Barkha Dutt: Raja is MoS!

Niira Radia: Then is Baalu MoS? Nahin ho sakta.

Barkha Dutt: Nahin, nahin, nahin, if Baalu gets Heavy Industries and … Baalu gets chemicals and fertilizer; Azhagiri gets this thing – Health.

Niira Radia: Maran gets Telecom and IT.

Barkha Dutt: Maran gets Telecom and IT. Raja gets demoted.

Niira Radia: Who gets…?

Barkha Dutt: Raja? Nahin hoga! [Won’t happen] haha

Niira Radia: I am telling you nahin hai (laughing). Trust me, nahin hai. Trust me, nahi hai [It’s not]

Barkha Dutt: Achcha, theek hai.

Niira Radia: I’ll tell you what is… paanch minute pehle… main tumko ek baat batati hu. Kya hogaya hai. Ek baat hogayii. Ye teeno Baalu, Raja aur Maran ko hatake, teen naye faces le a ayenge [Five minutes back… let me tell you what has happened. One thing has happened. They will remove Baalu, Raja and Maran and get three new faces]

Barkha Dutt: So this is not true basically, na?

Niira Radia: I don’t know where they are getting it from? I’ve been telling Navika Kumar that you’ve gone hammer and tong. And Maran doesn’t even want IT by the way. Maran wants coal and mine.

Barkha Dutt: I heard that Maran coal and mine…

May 22, 2009 19:23:57

[Lots of blank in the beginning]

Niira Radia:  Nahi hai, Barkha. Maine abhi phirse baat ki hai [I again had a talk].

Barkha Dutt: Apparently this story is not coming from Dwivedi[?] but from Chennai… Some section of the DMK

Niira Radia:  No, it’s coming from.. hmmm

Barkha Dutt: You see what happened was everybody I know in the congress was at the swearing in. So I haven’t been able to speak to the top guys. Now I just finished and I am going to make my set of calls.

Niira Radia:  Kani has just landed in Chennai. Just now. I just spoke…

Barkha Dutt: Where is Daya? Where is Maran?

Niira Radia:  Daya didn’t turn up for the swearing in because he was called back, because he went and told Karunanidhi that I have been asked by Ahmed Patel to come for the swearing in. But then the Leader said then you join the Congress.

Barkha Dutt: (laughs) So now?

Niira Radia:  So Raja was the only one who’s authorised to attend which he’s done and Raja’s catching the 8:40 flight…

Barkha Dutt: Okay

Niira Radia:  Karunanidhi from the time he’s landed has been sleeping. Has been resting. He’s got a back issue if you know. And the meeting is going to take place tomorrow.

Barkha Dutt: Ok

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