Chennai: With the 2G scam claiming the scalp of another DMK nominee in Union Cabinet with Dayanidhi Maran's exit, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday sought to assuage the feelings of sulking DMK chief M Karunanidhi and said there was no problem in their alliance.

"There is lots of writing and speculation whether the DMK-Congress alliance will continue or not. The alliance is there and will continue, it will be strengthened, he told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Karunanidhi at his residence here.

Mukherjee's remarks come in the backdrop of strains in the ties between the two parties following the exit of two DMK nominees -- Maran and A Raja -- the arrest of Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum case and the rout of the alliance in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls.

The meeting is the first top level contact between the leaders of the two parties in recent weeks after Kanimozhi's arrest for which the DMK chief had earlier blamed the Centre.

Karunanidhi is sore over the continued incarceration of his daughter and had skipped the UPA's second anniversary celebrations when he visited Delhi to meet Kanimozhi.

Seeking to downplay his meeting with Karunanidhi, which came two days after Maran resigned, Mukherjee said it was his pratice to call on the DMK leader whenever he was in the city.

Noting that this was his first visit to Chennai after the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, he said, "I took the opportunity of calling on him and explained the current political situation and shared our views."

There was no word from the DMK camp on the meeting. Mukherjee's meeting with Karunanidhi gained importance in the backdrop of speculation over an impending Union Cabinet reshuffle early next week and that he could discuss possible replacements for Maran and Raja.

The Finance Minister, who later addressed a review meeting of Income Tax and customs officials, refused to answer reporters queries on whether the issue of replacement for Maran and Raja figured during his talks with Karunanidhi.

The DMK is reportedly not in a hurry to name replacements for Maran and Raja. But the names of Baalu, party spokesman T K S Elangovan and A K S Vijayan are doing the rounds.

Besides Maran, the meeting was attended by Union Minister V Narayanasamy and TNCC President K V Thangkabalu.
DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu was not present, sources said. Mukherjee later left for Delhi.

(Agencies)