M A I N   N E W S

DMK pulls out, UPA govt in a bind
Chidambaram says we have the numbers as SP, BSP promise outside support to govt
KV Prasad/TNS

New Delhi, March 19
The UPA government today received a setback with the DMK, its most trusted and long-standing ally from the South, pulling out from the coalition rendering it more dependent on the outside support provided by the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
When a situation has been created that will not benefit Ealam Tamils, it will be a big harm to the Tamil race for the DMK to continue in the government.
M Karunanidhi, DMK chief
The government is absolutely stable and enjoys majority in the Lok Sabha
P Chidambaram, Finance Minister
We are most pained at the manner in which their (Lankan Tamils) legitimate political rights continue to be denied to them.
Sonia Gandhi, AICC chief

DMK leader TR Baalu submitted a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee announcing the party’s decision. The party ministers are likely to meet the Prime Minister tomorrow to submit their resignations from the Union Council of Ministers.

Culminating a series of threats delivered over the past few days, DMK chief M Karunanidhi said in Chennai that the party is walking out of the alliance as the Manmohan Singh government has failed to address the concerns expressed by it on the alleged human right violations against Tamils in Sri Lanka.

“When a situation has been created that will not benefit Ealam Tamils, it will be a big harm to the Tamil race for the DMK to continue in the government. (Therefore) it has been decided that the DMK will withdraw from the Cabinet and the coalition,” Karunanidhi said.

Even after losing its largest ally with 18 Lok Sabha MPs, the Congress discounted any threat to the stability of the government with Finance Minister P Chidambaram claiming that it enjoys majority in the Lok Sabha that has 541 members with four vacancies in the 545-strong House.

Earlier in the day, while snapping ties with the UPA, Karunanidhi said the party could reconsider the move provided the concerns raised by the party are addressed by Parliament in a resolution before March 21, the day when the UN Human Rights Council is scheduled take up the US-sponsored resolution in Geneva.

Chidamabaram said the party’s parliamentary managers were making efforts to work with other parties on a resolution but the BJP appeared reluctant to string along. Indications are that the government could articulate the position it would take in Geneva but is not willing to walk the length on the terms set by the DMK.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi backed the demand for an “independent and credible probe” into the “unspeakable atrocities” on the Tamils in Lanka. “The plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka is close to our hearts. We are anguished by reports of unspeakable atrocities on innocent civilians and children, especially during the last days of the conflict in 2009'', she said.

The issue also figured in the Lok Sabha with DMK member TKS Elangovan stating that the party was not bothered about resolution in the UN but said the Government of India has moral duty to see that assurances by the Lankan government are fulfilled. On his part, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath offered a debate on the issue.

The overall political mood in Parliament does not indicate any sense of threat to the government and unless the Opposition, including the BJP which is the principal party on the other side of the aisle decides to challenge the status of majority of the government, the current regime can continue to breathe easy.





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