A day after the DMK skipped meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), the party Tuesday said it avoided participating as its party chief M K Stalin was accused of violating “coalition dharma” over local body polls.
The DMK also remained non-committal when asked if the ties with Congress have now returned to its “old status”.
“We did not take part in the meeting since our chief wa accused of violating coalition dharma,” senior DMK leader and Lok Sabha MP T R Baalu was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. “Time will tell whether it has returned to the old (normality indicating bonhomie) status or not; why are you concerned?”
Last week, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief K S Alagiri had said that Congress was not allotted a fair number of posts of local bodies chiefs by the lead partner DMK and this went against “coalition dharma”. Responding to his statement, Baalu said he felt that Alagiri could have avoided issuing the statement. According to reports, Alagiri has expressed his regret over his comment.
The show of Opposition unity did not exactly go the way it was planned with seven major parties — Trinamool Congress, DMK, BSP, SP, TDP, Shiv Sena and AAP which have 83 MPs in Lok Sabha — staying away, revealing the inherent contradictions in the Opposition camp.
The absence of DMK and Shiv Sena at the meeting stood out because the former is an ally of the Congress in Tamil Nadu and the latter its power-sharing partner in Maharashtra. The SP, which had confirmed that it will attend the meeting, changed its mind at the last minute.
Demanding the withdrawal of the new citizenship law, twenty Opposition parties led by the Congress Monday called upon all Chief Ministers “who have announced that they will not implement NRC” in their states to consider suspending the NPR enumeration “as this is a prelude to NRC”.
The meeting of the Opposition parties, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the backdrop of continuing protests against the CAA and the proposed NRC, made a conscious attempt to link the protests to economic distress.