DMK asks UPA to follow coalition ‘dharma’

February 15th, 2008 - 10:29 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Chennai, Feb 15 (IANS) Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK Friday asked the central government to abide by coalition ‘dharma’ in the face of widespread reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in the next cabinet reshuffle, may divest DMK leader and Shipping and Surface Transport Minister T.R. Baalu of his portfolio. Over 100 senior DMK leaders participated in the apex administrative committee (AAC) meeting here to discuss major issues of delimitation, nominations for Rajya Sabha membership and alliance politics. DMK patriarch and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi chaired the meet.

Following reports in the national media that the prime minister was mulling a cabinet reshuffle in which Baalu could lose his portfolio, the DMK panel passed a resolution asking allies “not to go overboard” and reminded them of the coalition ‘dharma’ (rule).

“Only if all parties follow constructive principles of coalition dharma, can the problems that confront the nation be faced,” the resolution said.

“The AAC appeals to allies to work carefully so that a deep sense of cohesion prevails in the coalition and the country does not go into the hands of communal forces,” it added.

Reminding the Congress party that the DMK has been “a major supporter of the Congress-led coalition in New Delhi”, another DMK resolution urged the central government to “speed up efforts to complete the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project”.

The PMK and the Left parties, allies of the DMK in the state government, have been strong critics of the DMK and have recently reiterated that “the alliance with the DMK was only a matter of pre-poll seat adjustment and that it was over after the assembly elections”.

The DMK in its resolution reminded its allies that the party had supported the nominations of PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss and Communist Party of India’s D. Raja to parliament.

Six Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu will retire April 2l. Four of them - N. Jothi, S.P.M. Syed Khan, Thanga Tamilselvan and C. Perumalm - are AIADMK nominees while union minister G.K. Vaasan and R. Shanmuga Sundaram are Congress and DMK nominees respectively.

With DMK holding 165 seats in the 234-seat assembly, the Congress party would need its help to re-nominate Vaasan. The DMK will have to choose three names for the Rajya Sabha - another matter taken up at the meet.

According to party sources, organisational secretary T.K.S. Ellangovan, special representative of the Tamil Nadu government in New Delhi Cumbum Selvendran and former MP K.P. Ramalingam have made the shortlist with four others.

The matter of delimitation was also discussed. DMK is facing major problems with delimitation with S. Raghupathy’s Puddukottai constituency being scrapped, Telecommunications Minister A. Raja’s Perambalur reserved constituency being made general category, Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan’s Tiruchengode seat being scrapped and T.R. Baalu’s South Chennai seat being reorganised.

The DMK is also getting the jitters with AIADMK leader J. Jayalalitha promising to induct 4.4 million young people into her party in three months and actor-turned-politicians Vijayakanth and Sarath Kumar keeping their alliance options open for both 2009 parliamentary and the next assembly elections.

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