December 21, 2003
The DMK pullout from the NDA government has opened up various permutations for the Congress and the Left forces, each seeing the DMK as a possible ally in the future.
Calling it a ‘‘first step’’, the Congress is waiting for the DMK to pull out of the coalition at the Centre altogether so that both can move towards an understanding for the next Lok Sabha elections. The official line, however, is that the party will wait and watch.
Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress president G.K. Vasan, whose appointment was made keeping electoral alliances in mind, said: ‘‘In Tamil Nadu, the Congress hopes there would be a secular front to counter the communal forces. The Congress in the state has been opposing the ruling government for its wrong policies tooth and nail, and that would continue.’’
Within state politics, it was an open secret that the Congress was working on its ties with DMK chief M. Karunanidhi — Vasan is known for his close ‘‘family links’’ with DMK leaders.
The Left sees the break-off as more in keeping with the DMK ideology. ‘‘It’s good that the DMK has finally decided to correct its anomalous position. It neither shares BJP’s ideology nor supports its anti-people, anti-worker policies,’’ CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said. The Left is considered to be especially pleased as the NDA was hobnobbing with the AIADMK too.
CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet was more circumspect. ‘‘We cannot say that the DMK has cleared the way for a new alliance with the opposition parties (meaning the Congress and the Left) but it is certainly making the way for future interaction. Let us not jump to conclusions.’’
The DMK is believed to have put the pullout on hold for long, considering Murasoli Maran’s support for Prime Minister Vajpayee and his “do-it-now” economic reforms agenda.
The DMK, however, has crashed for now whatever hopes the AIADMK had of jumping onto the NDA bandwagon. DMK chief M. Karunanidhi may have asked his two ministers to resign from the Union Cabinet, but his party continues to remain with the NDA. The DMK, which has 11 members in the Lok Sabha, will now offer issue-based support to the Vajpayee Government.
Jayalalithaa, in spite of an anti-conversion law and unconditional support for POTA, will have to cool her heels a little longer and wait for a complete divorce to come around.
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