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Petro hike protest
DMK flip-flops over support to UPA
Day of drama: Karuna first issues veiled threat of pull-out, then says won’t rock govt boat

Chennai, May 30
In a flip-flop, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi today made a veiled threat of pulling out of the UPA government but soon after made it clear that his party would not rock the government in view of the Presidential election.

Addressing a meeting here to protest the steep increase in petrol prices, he lashed out at the Centre and said when his party's principles were trampled upon during earlier alliances, he had not hesitated to walk out of the coalition, whether it was the VP Singh Cabinet or the BJP-led NDA regime.

"We have never hesitated to raise the voice of the opposition whenever the basic principles were hurt and if we cannot solve it by being an ally, we have not hesitated to come out and uphold those principles," he said.

"The DMK is in the coalition. But (being in) alliance is different. It is our duty to voice concern against policies that will affect the people," he told the meeting, which was also called to protest the hike in milk prices and bus and power tariff by the Jayalalithaa government.

With the veiled threat causing political ripples, the 88-year-old leader later resorted to damage control, saying he had not said his party will walk out.

"It is the time of Presidential polls. So we will not create a crisis for the government. We will remain in the alliance with bitterness," he said.

Later, Karunanidhi also said he had been informed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was looking into the petrol price hike issue.

"The Centre will take note of our suggestions," he said. Asked if his party would walk out of the UPA if there was no rollback, Karunanidhi said he could not answer that, but said "then the coming government will be regressive with communal forces taking over."

Asked specifically whether today's protest was against the Centre on the petrol price hike, he said, "It is not against the Centre but was against the hike." — PTI





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