The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 19 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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UPA ally Karuna supports BJP bandh ‘Democratic duty of expressing displeasure’

Chennai, Sept. 18: M. Karunanidhi, whose DMK is part of the UPA government, today said his party would support the BJP’s Bharat Bandh on Thursday to protest the diesel price hike, FDI in retail and the cap on LPG cylinders.

Apparently wary of facing public anger over the diesel and LPG decisions and inviting the wrath of small traders over the FDI move, Karunanidhi issued a statement asking all wings of the party to extend “full co-operation” to conducting the protest in a “peaceful” and “successful manner”.

“People in the state are already reeling from the increase in transport, milk and electricity charges and price rise. The Centre, burdening the common man further, has announced an increase in the diesel price, limited subsidised cooking gas and allowed FDI in multi-brand retail. To protest these decisions, a nation-wide protest has been announced on September 20,” PTI quoted the DMK chief as saying.

Karunanidhi has said the Centre did not consult his party before taking the steps. He has said he will comment on the FDI decision after it is implemented. He has, however, added that he will not withdraw support to the Centre on these issues.

A senior DMK MLA said today: “We cannot be seen as fully with the Congress on this sensitive issue. So, while not posing any threat to the UPA government’s stability, we are exercising our democratic duty of expressing our displeasure. This does not mean we are politically with the BJP.”

DMK sources said the leadership thought it prudent to throw its weight behind a bandh that is expected to have an impact at the national level rather than organising a protest on its own. The leadership, the sources said, felt that in the aftermath of the party’s defeat in last year’s Assembly polls, any protest organised by it might not be successful.

The sources said Karunanidhi also wanted to steal a march on the ruling ADMK, which is expected to declare its support to the bandh tomorrow.

State BJP leader H. Raja said: “It shows that the DMK cannot sail against the popular tide, which is against the UPA government in Delhi.”

A Congress MP said that by supporting the bandh, the DMK had taken a “political decision to protect its public image”. “But the people of the state will see through the party’s hypocrisy,” he added.