Dayanidhi Maran to abstain in July 22 vote (Lead)

July 14th, 2008 - 11:48 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Chennai, July 14 (IANS) Former union IT minister and DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran announced Monday night that he would abstain during the crucial confidence vote in parliament on July 22. The bespectacled former minister and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s estranged grandnephew issued a statement late in the night refuting rumours that he would vote against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and said, “I will rather abstain.”

Sun TV - the television channel part-owned by Maran - ran news items throughout the day indicating that the former minister was unwilling to antagonise the ruling DMK.

With Maran’s decision to abstain from voting, the UPA flock in Tamil Nadu, which was expected to net at least 33 votes, has one less.

The Democratic Progressive Alliance in the state led by the ruling DMK (15), its main ally the Congress (9), former ally PMK (6 including one from the Union Territory of Puducherry) and MDMK (two) can at best contribute 32 votes to the UPA kitty, sources told IANS.

Meanwhile, S. Ramadoss has gone on record saying his party, the PMK, would vote to save the Manmohan Singh ministry.

Reacting to Maran’s sudden announcement and Left charges of UPA horse-trading, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan called the reports “a speculative pack of lies”.

Keeping in mind gaffes of the past, the UPA managers in Tamil Nadu are planning to be extra careful.

Two Dravidian party MPs had failed to vote at crucial moments. One of them, Sedappatti Muthiah (AIADMK), had ‘forgotten’ to cast his vote in support of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999, while S.S. Rajendran (DMK) had claimed to be answering the call of nature during a similar instance in the mid-80s.

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