Chennai, March 19: DMK leader M. Karunanidhi’s hand was forced by three factors that came into play after his parleys with a UPA team on Monday night.
During his talks with the three Union ministers, Karunanidhi himself had suggested a resolution in Parliament against Lanka. He had contended that such a move would satisfy the DMK’s political compulsions since it had been accused of being a silent witness to the final war in Lanka against the LTTE in 2009 in which over 40,000 Tamils had been killed.
But after the Congress team left Karunanidhi’s residence, he was buttonholed by his son and party treasurer M.K. Stalin for two hours.
Stalin insisted that only a DMK pullout would restore credibility to the party’s line on Lanka and that he would not settle for anything less. As he will be spearheading the DMK’s Lok Sabha campaign in 2014, Stalin felt any association with a weak and unpopular Congress would only be detrimental at the hustings, especially in view of the recent spurt in public anger in Tamil Nadu against the Centre’s inaction on Sri Lanka.
Second, Karunanidhi learnt on Tuesday morning that the US had diluted its resolution against Sri Lanka considerably, suggesting only an internal inquiry instead of an international and independent probe into alleged human rights violations.
Third, there was no mention about a parliamentary resolution in Sonia Gandhi’s speech to the Congress parliamentary party. The DMK veteran felt let down and called a hurried meeting where it was decided to move out of the UPA.
“We cannot accept the Indian government allowing the dilution of the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and its continued refusal to heed the amendments suggested by us. Under these circumstances, it would cause great harm to the Tamil race if we continued to be part of the Union government and the UPA,” Karunanidhi said.
But he had left some room for manoeuvre in the morning by stating the party would reconsider its decision if the Centre introduced the resolution in Parliament and supported an independent probe into war crimes.
DMK cadres celebrated by bursting crackers and distributing sweets, exactly what they had done in March 2011 when the DMK had announced its decision to quit the UPA after trouble over seat-sharing with the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections. Eventually, the DMK had to eat humble pie and accept the Congress’s demand for 63 seats.
Since the DMK’s recent past is strewn with examples of flip-flops whenever it has threatened the Centre with a pullout, it remains to be seen if it will travel the entire distance this time.
The party’s executive, which meets on March 25, is expected to take the final call on lending outside support.
Personally, Karunanidhi feels that remaining with the Congress would prove beneficial in a Lok Sabha election. But Stalin and others want the party to tie up with Vijayakanth’s DMDK.