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MDMK pulls out of NDA

Chennai, December 29
Toeing DMK’s line, the MDMK today decided to pull out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and withdraw its two ministers from the Union Government, “keeping in mind” BJP’s overtures to a tie-up with rival AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

The party’s two Central ministers — M Kannappan and Gingee N. Ramachandran — would call on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Delhi tomorrow to tender their resignations. The decision of the MDMK, which has four members in the Lok Sabha, was taken “keeping in mind BJP’s overtures to forge an alliance with the AIADMK.” Together, DMK and MDMK have 15 members in the Lok Sabha. “If MDMK continued to remain in NDA, its credibility would be at stake. There was also a need to cement its relationship with the DMK with a view to protecting the Dravidian movement in the state,” a resolution adopted at the meeting said.

Asked whether the MDMK would extend its support to the NDA from outside, as has been decided by the DMK, party treasurer and minister Kannappan said : “The support will be issue-based”.

Asked whether there were differences of opinion between the two ministers and the party cadres on the decision to pull out, MDMK presidium chairman L. Ganesan said the decision to pull out was unanimous and in a democratic party such as his, it was quite natural that “some difference of opinion” cropped up.

Asked whether the MDMK took this decision mainly because the DMK took a similar stand, Mr Ganesan said : “It is not the case. Even if it was so, it will not be incorrect”. The decision to quit NDA was taken at the “right time”, he added.

Answering a question, Mr Ganesan said his party leader Vaiko, lodged in Vellore jail under POTA, would not come out on bail. “We are very clear on that and we are confident that he will be acquitted by the court,” he said.

Maintaining that there was cordial relationship between his party and the DMK now, Mr Ganesan said DMK chief M. Karunanidhi would be the leader of the alliance in Tamil Nadu.

“As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, he will protect our interests. It will be Karunanidhi versus Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu in the next elections”, he said.

NEW DELHI: Terming the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazagham’s (MDMK) decision to pull out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as “unfortunate,” the BJP today asserted that it would not affect the stability of the Vajpayee government.

Reacting to the decision of the MDMK to toe the DMK line, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the party was sad because an ally, who had closely worked with the BJP, had chosen to withdraw its members from the coalition. However, the MDMK’s decision was dictated by ‘Dravidian politics’, he added.

“We know their compulsions, understand their feelings and also note that none of them has ill will against Mr Vajpayee,” the spokesman said. — PTI, TNS

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