DMK pulls out of UPA over Lanka issue

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 19, 2013 10:33 hrs

New Delhi/Chennai: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Tuesday pulled out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre over its stand on the Sri Lanka human rights issue at the UNHRC session at Geneva, dealing a body blow to the Congress led coalition and reducing it to a minority.

DMK, which was the biggest ally of the UPA after the Trinamool Congress walked out, said it would not lend outside support too. Five DMK ministers will quit the government.

The UPA has been reduced to a minority after the exit of 18 DMK MPs. The UPA with outside support of SP (22 MPs) and BSP (21 MPs) has 277 members now after the pullout.

However, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government is stable even as the Congress called a core committee meeting. He said the government has taken note of the statement of Karunanidhi and indicated a resolution on the Sri Lanka issue in Parliament in keeping with what DMK wanted.

He hoped that DMK might review its decision.

After the pullout there were celebrations in Chennai outside the DMK party office.

The DMK wanted India to go for a strongly worded resolution against Sri Lanka for its atrocities and killings of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka that followed after the civil war in that country ended with the defeat of the LTTE.

"I am pulling out of the UPA government," said DMK chief M Karunanidhi in Chennai. He said he felt let down by the government and it has always worked for the Tamils.

"Sri Lanka has committed serious crimes and the DMK has always condemned these crimes, " said Karunanidhi.

The UPA is now dependent only the the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav and his rival Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Won't pull out if resolution slams Lanka: Karuna

However, the DMK said it would reconsider its decision to quit the UPA if the government passed a resolution against Sri Lanka in parliament.

"There is a window for them. We will reconsider our stand if the government passes a resolution in parliament against the atrocities on Sri Lankan Tamils," DMP MP Vasanthi Stanley told reporters.

"Look at Pakistan. They had the guts to pass a resolution against the hanging of Afzal Guru. Why cannot the Indian parliament pass a resolution on this?" the Rajya Sabha MP said.

"We had earlier expected tje government would support the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN. Now even that stands diluted," she added.

Stanley compared the situation in Tamil Nadu to the anti-Hindi movement of the 1960s.

"They are failing to understand the spirit of the people in Tamil Nadu, it is like they overlooked the anti-Hindi movement. We are just reflecting the popular sentiment," she said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla told reporters that they had initiated the process of "consultation" for formulating a resolution as demanded by the DMK.

"We are consulting other parties... If it has to be passed, is has to be passed only after consulting all parties," Shukla said.

UPA Govt admitted in ICU: BJP

The opposition reacted immediately holding that UPA has lost the mandate to run the nation.

"The countdown of UPA government has started. The government has failed on the human rights issue of Sri Lankan Tamils," said opposition BJP leader Ananth Kumar.

The main opposition party also said that the ruling Congress Party at the Centre has almost been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and is taking its last breath.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the latest political development is nothing very amusing, and added that the credibility of the DMK has always been doubtful because they were one of the strongest supporters of the UPA Government.

"But having said that, the foremost fact remains that no alliance of the UPA would like to go to the next elections with the burden of the Congress Party, with the burden of Manmohan Singh or Sonia Gandhi. So, they are looking for very first excuse to come out of the alliance," said Rudy.

"But having said that, the government had become a minority government the very time Mamata Banerjee-the TMC had withdrawn their support from the Congress and thereafter it has been a lame duck government, which the UPA Government has been surviving. And today with the withdrawal of the DMK from UPA, this government is almost admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), it is taking its last breath and the government will collapse under its own weight undoubtedly," he added.

Rudy further said the BJP has very categorically stated that whatever resolution has to be moved, the sentiments of the Tamilians living in India and what they feel about the Tamilians living in Sri Lanka has to be taken into account and those sentiments cannot be ignored.

The DMK earlier had asked the Indian government to amend a U.S. sponsored resolution to incorporate the demand for international probe and time-bound action against those who may be found guilty of war crimes in Sri Lanka.

Karunanidhi on Sunday had threatened to snap ties with the UPA if the Centre did not heed to DMK's demands against Sri Lanka.

"If our demands are not met, it is doubtful whether our ties with the alliance (UPA) will continue...It won't continue is sure," Karunanidhi had told media.

The government, which has not taken a clear stance over the Lankan Tamils issue, on Saturday attempted to placate the DMK with Union Minister V Narayanasamy saying the Prime Minister would "definitely consider all aspects" before taking a decision on the resolution.

On Sunday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said a decision by the government on voting on the UN resolution on Sri Lanka will be taken after consulting all UPA partners.

In the sternest of warnings yet, the DMK had demanded that the Indian government bring in certain amendments in the U.S.-sponsored resolution against Colombo at the session of the UN Human Rights Council later this month.

The DMK has 18 members in the parliament and was critical to the Congress to sustain the ruling coalition, which suffered heavily after the pullout of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) last year in September over economic issues.

The issue of Sri Lankan war crimes was re-ignited recently after photos of the alleged cold-blooded killing of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son came to light.

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