The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK),the UPAs nine-year-old partner in power,quit the ruling coalition on Tuesday,charging the Centre with disregarding its demand for stringent amendments to the US-sponsored draft resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.
The party,however,left a window for reconciliation open,giving the central government until Thursday to initiate a discussion in Parliament on a resolution censuring Sri Lanka for genocide and war crimes during the last phase of the military action against the LTTE in 2009.
The one-member Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) quit along with the DMKs 18 members in the Lok Sabha. There was no immediate threat to the government however,as both the SP (22) and BSP (21) iterated support.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi alleged that by not bringing in amendments to declare Sri Lankas war on the Tamil rebels as genocide and prosecute those guilty of war crimes and human rights violations,the UN,and India too,had betrayed Sri Lankan Tamils.
None of the amendments demanded by the DMK was even considered by the Government of India,Karunanidhi said. Under the circumstances,it would be grave injustice to all Tamils if the DMK continued in the government,he told reporters,reading out a statement from the party.
So the DMK is withdrawing from the union cabinet and the United Progressive Alliance with immediate effect.
The five ministers at the Centre including his elder son M K Alagiri would tender their resignations today or tomorrow,Karunanidhi said,adding that the DMK would not extend outside support to the government either.
Asked if the DMK would reconsider if the resolution was moved in the Parliament,however,Karunanidhi replied: There is enough time. The resolution we demanded can be moved in Parliament and taken up for discussion until March 21. The draft will be put to vote by the UNHRC in Geneva on that day.
Besides incorporating stringent amendments to the US draft to declare the Lankan war as genocide,the DMK had also demanded a credible international institution to go into these charges and prosecute the guilty which means trying the Lankan political leadership,starting with President Mahinda Rajapakse.
To a query,Karunanidhi said even Indias alleged backing for Sri Lanka during the last phase of the war in 2009 could be investigated.
The DMKs pullout came a day after Karunanidhis meeting with Congress leaders A K Antony,P Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad ended inconclusively. As the decision was announced on Tuesday morning,scores of DMK cadres assembled at Anna Arivalayam,the party headquarters,bursting crackers,distributing sweets and raising slogans against the Congress leadership. The DMK executive council will meet in Chennai on March 25.
The pullout eventually came as a surprise; indications on Monday night were that the three central emissaries had succeeded in buying some time. Karunanidhi has threatened to withdraw support five times in the past,but stopped short on every occasion. The parties stuck together in mutual interest even after Karunanidhis daughter Kanimozhi was jailed in the 2G scam.
Now,with a rising groundswell of anti-Lanka protests in Tamil Nadu,a section of the party believes an alliance with the Congress would be a liability.