DMK formally withdraws support to UPA govt
Chennai/New Delhi: Effectively closing any window of rapprochement with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) over the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils, the DMK on Tuesday night formally withdrew support to the Central government.
TR Baalu and four other members of the DMK, which earlier in the day announced that it was pulling out of the Cabinet and the coalition, met President Pranab Mukherjee at 10.30 pm and handed over the letter withdrawing support to of its 18 MPs to the UPA government.
Baalu said the DMK ministers will submit their resignations to the Prime Minister tomorrow.
The senior DMK leader ruled out any reconsideration of the withdrawal of support, a move that makes the government vulnerable despite its assertions of having a Parliamentary majority.
"Who said there is a window of resolution? After having submitted the letter of withdrawal of support, where is the window of resolution," Baalu said in response to reporters’ questions.
Baalu parried questions on whether DMK will extend outside support to the UPA, saying, "We will do whatever our leader (Karunanidhi) decides".
Just before the DMK leaders' meeting with the President, the Congress Core Group also held a meeting to discuss the situation.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and senior ministers and party leaders.
The DMK had been pressing the UPA government that India should push for amendments to a US-sponsored resolution in UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) so that it calls for an independent international probe into "genocide" of Sri Lankan Tamils. The party also wants a resolution by Indian Parliament on the issue.
However, in making the announcement DMK chief M Karunanidhi had left open a window for reconsidering the decision by stating that it was "ready" to reconsider its decision if Parliament adopts a resolution before March 21 taking the party's demands on board. The Geneva-based UNHRC is due to vote a resolution against Sri Lanka on March 21
Sources said the Government is drafting a resolution to be brought in Parliament in a bid to placate Karunanidhi.
Of the five DMK ministers, M K Alagiri is of Cabinet rank. The DMK has 18 Lok Sabha MPs and six Rajya Sabha MPs. Karunanidhi also ruled out outside support.
With the DMK pullout, the strength of the UPA in the Lok Sabha has been reduced to 224 but it enjoys the support of 281 MPs that include those of outside supporting parties. The Lok Sabha has 539 MPs at present as four seats are vacant. The half-way mark is 270.
SP (22) and BSP (21) were among the crucial outside supporters (57). Both the parties said they will support the government and there was no threat to its stability.
"Let me assure you that the stability of the government and the continuance of the government are not an issue. The government is absolutely stable and enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters.
(With PTI inputs)