Chidambaram reaches out as DMK threatens pullout over Lankahttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/chidambaram-reaches-out-as-dmk-threatens-pullout-over-lanka/

Chidambaram reaches out as DMK threatens pullout over Lanka

DMK leadership said nobody from the Congress or the government had contacted them.

Under severe pressure from the public,rivals and even from within the party to force the Centre to take a stringent stand against Sri Lanka before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC),the DMK is seriously considering making real its threat to quit the union cabinet and even the UPA.

“It would be pointless for the DMK ministers to remain in the cabinet if the union government fails to meet the demands of the party,” party chief M Karunanidhi had said yesterday.

A day later,the DMK leadership said nobody from the Congress or the government had contacted them. Karunanidhi said today that his party had exerted “necessary pressure” on the Centre to bring amendments to the US-moved resolution at the UNHRC meet. He said there was no response from the Centre yet,but added that the DMK had not set any deadline.

Meanwhile,addressing a public function to explain the budget in Sivaganga,Union Finance minister P Chidambaram said: “If the (US) resolution contains a demand for credible investigation,I am confident that the country will support it.”

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While this is not the first time that Karunanidhi has threatened to pull out his ministers,the threat,said to be the sixth since 2006,looks more real than ever.

“By remaining silent even after sustained appeals,it seems the Congress is not working in the interest of the Tamils in Lanka. Then what is the point in continuing,” said a Delhi-based senior DMK leader today,not concealing the party’s disappointment over India’s ambivalence on the issue.

The party feels India does not want to antagonise the Lankan government even in the face of grave charges. “It is on the DMK to take all measures possible to help and protect the Tamils in Lanka,” said the DMK leader.

With the UNHRC meeting now underway in Geneva,the allegations of war crimes,human rights violations and the plight of the Lankan Tamils have captured the political space in Tamil Nadu over the last few weeks,even overtaking important local issues.

The DMK has been accused of remaining passive despite being part of the union government during the last stages of the Lankan conflict. Facing all-round criticism,the DMK seems keen to ramp up its image.

With only one cabinet minister and just over a year left for the Lok Sabha elections,the party does not have much to lose. On the other hand,it has much to gain,as it can claim the high moral ground,saying it renounced power on the issue. And if the Centre backs the US-moved resolution,however reluctantly,the DMK will be sure to claim credit like it did last year.

Unlike last year,when India backed the US resolution after diluting some of its provisions,the DMK has demanded a more stringent line on Lanka this time. The party has sought Indian intervention to amend the US draft to include the demand for an independent international investigation and prosecution into allegations of rights violations and war crimes.

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In New Delhi,PTI quoted Union Minister V Narayanasamy as saying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will “definitely consider all these aspects” before taking a decision on the issue. “In Tamil Nadu,the issue is very emotive and sensitive for the people and political parties,” he said.