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DMK flashes quit signal

Chennai, Dec. 15: The DMK today said it was no longer keen on being part of the coalition government at the Centre.

“The DMK’s high-level policy-making body will soon meet and decide on whether it is proper to continue in the NDA and whether our nominees should remain ministers in the government,” Karunanidhi announced this evening. The DMK chief was speaking after the party’s statewide picketing agitation today to demand the revocation of the anti-terror law and press the Centre to declare Tamil as a “classical language”.

Objecting to M. Venkaiah Naidu’s comment yesterday that it was “neither ideal nor healthy” for the DMK to be part of the NDA, Karunanidhi told reporters that the BJP president’s choice of words was “unbearable”.

“We are being accused of creating an unhealthy situation for the coalition, then we do not desire to be part of that central government,” he added.

The DMK chief went on a token fast before the Chennai police commissioner’s office this evening to protest against the arrest of party MLA J. Anbazhagan from his residence despite the high court’s clear direction against any preventive arrests in connection with the picketing.

Referring to instances in the past when parties have staged demonstrations to draw the government’s attention towards their demands, Karunanidhi termed as “motivated” Naidu’s charge that “our agitation to picket central government offices today was unhealthy”.

“Yes,” retorted Karunanidhi when a reporter asked him whether there was a possibility of the DMK quitting the NDA now.

Asked whether the move would affect the DMK’s political prospects in the light of the BJP’s resounding victory in the Assembly polls, he said: “This is for our high-power committee to deliberate upon.”

Karunanidhi was tight-lipped on what the DMK’s response would be if Naidu withdrew his comment, merely saying: “It is hypothetical.”

The DMK leader dubbed today’s demonstration a “spectacular success”, saying nearly 1.5 lakh party members have been arrested throughout the state. Key party leaders, including DMK treasurer Arcot . Veerasamy, deputy general secretary M.K. Stalin and former ministers Durai Murugan and Ponmudi were arrested when they tried to picket central and state government offices.

All those arrested were released later in the evening except DMK legislator Anbazhagan who has been remanded in custody.

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