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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DMK snaps ties with PMK

CHENNAI: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam announced on Tuesday that it was snapping its ties with the Pattali Makkal Katchi since the DMK “could not accept that … relations had to be continued with a party that denigrated” it.

A nine-page resolution, adopted at the end of over hour-long deliberations of the party’s High Level Policy Implementation Committee here, said that after a PMK leader spoke in a cheap and derogatory manner that sought to take away the DMK’s self-respect — he was not even apologetic, nor did the PMK leadership take action against him — and since it could not be accepted that the alliance had to be continued with such persons, “the committee regrets to announce that a situation had emerged where the [Democratic Progressive] alliance could not go forward along with such people [the PMK].”

The speech in question was made by J. Guru, former MLA, who spoke at a PMK meeting in a derogatory manner about the DMK leadership. He said that if any PMK functionary was arrested, Union Minister A. Raja and MLA Sivasankar would not be alive. The PMK contends that the speech was an “old issue” that “has been sorted out.” Asked about this, Mr. Karunanidhi shot back: “Will you condone a murder just because it was committed some time ago?”

Mr. Karunanidhi said he had read about the speech in the media but had not taken it seriously.

It was on June 13 that party treasurer and Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veeraswami played a CD containing the speech for him. In any case, it was not merely one speech that upset the DMK. The PMK had been making false allegations at every opportunity, the DMK said. The resolution noted that “whatever [scheme] the DMK implemented, the PMK was making fun of it and speaking in a derisive manner, and was issuing statements and interviews against the DMK government to conjure up an unreal scenario as if the DMK government had failed in every sphere.” By trying to create an impression that the DMK government was against the people, PMK founder S. Ramadoss had made it a political routine to gain cheap publicity, the resolution said.

While criticism was common, the PMK continued with its uncharitable and derisive comments even after the issues it raised were addressed.

Asked if the DMK would convene a meeting of alliance partners on this issue, Mr. Karunanidhi said this was an insult heaped on the DMK. “We are now erasing that insult,” he said. It had nothing to do with the other allies.

DMK men were particularly miffed at Dr. Ramadoss’ evaluation of the DMK government’s performance — that Mr. Karunanidhi did not pass the test. Asked how he assessed the performance of the PMK leader, Mr. Karunanidhi retorted: “I have not even seen the answer paper.”

On the letter that he sent to the PMK leader, which Dr. Ramadoss released to the press, Mr. Karunanidhi said that if one read the letter, one would realise how civil he was in his choice of words. Dr. Ramadoss had wanted some officials and police personnel shifted and he obliged.

Asked if any other party would be invited to join the DPA, Mr. Karunanidhi said there was no compulsion that another party should come in.

Asked if he would talk to Dr. Ramadoss in the event of the PMK leader coming forward to talk to him, Mr. Karunanidhi said he would not be able to answer hypothetical questions. On the possibility of revival of the alliance in the future in the interest of secularism, he said this message should be conveyed to Dr. Ramadoss.

To another question, Mr. Karunanidhi said he had no intention of insisting that the PMK be expelled from the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre. He had not spoken to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on this issue, nor had she asked him about it.

On the PMK’s Ministers at the Centre, he said he was fond of Dr. Ramadoss’ son, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss (“Anbumani meedhu enakku anbu undu”) and that Minister of State for Railways R. Velu was doing a good job. The DMK had no problems with Dr. Anbumani. Mr. Karunanidhi said he had not spoken to anyone in the Congress on the problems with the PMK.

Reacting to the DMK decision, Dr. Ramadoss said his party was neither “sad nor surprised.” The PMK would continue to raise people’s issues more vigorously, he said.

The PMK has six MPs in the Lok Sabha.

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