Left stops supporting Karunanidhi government, Congress elated (Lead)

August 9th, 2008 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By T.S.V. Hari
Chennai, Aug 9 (IANS) The two major Left parties, CPI-M and CPI, announced Saturday that they will no longer support the minority DMK government in Tamil Nadu - leaving the Congress, a major supporter of the ruling party, jubilant. “There will be no alliances with any party that has an alliance with the Congress from now on,” said W.R. Varadarajan, Tamil Nadu secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) after a three-hour meeting attended by senior leaders of the two left parties that have a sizeable representation in the state legislature.

The state secretary of the Communist Party of India D. Pandian qualified the statement further.

“The Left will have no alliance with those parties that are directly or indirectly linked to any party or parties on the basis of any understanding with the UPA or NDA in future,” Pandian said.

They indicated that the Left would explore the possibility of forming a third front not only at the centre but also in the state.

The decision by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) is in keeping with their withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre. The DMK is a key member of the Congress-led UPA.

The withdrawal of support by the 15 Left party legislators is unlikely to threaten the DMK government of M. Karunanidhi, but may make him more receptive if the Congress wishes to join the ministry.

The Congress is now the only major supporter of the ruling DMK.

“Now Karunanidhi will make it appear that he is magnanimously offering berths to Congressmen in his ministry since he has been totally weakened by the exit of the PMK and the Left. But the sad fact is that Karunanidhi has no option left,” Cho S. Ramaswamy, political commentator, satirist and journalist told IANS.

In the Tamil Nadu assembly, the DMK has 95 legislators, Congress 35, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi two and there is one independent supporting the treasury benches.

In the opposition are the AIADMK with 60 legislators, PMK with 18, MDMK six and DMDK one. The nine CPI-M legislators and the six from the CPI are now going to join them.

The withdrawal of support by the Left had been on the cards since Karunanidhi ignored pleas by CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI leader D. Raja to join them and oppose the Congress over the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Ironically, the Left move will benefit a section in the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress.

“Expect a cabinet reshuffle any day now and it is our turn to ask for plum posts as did the DMK when the UPA came to power at the centre four years ago,” said a Congress legislator.

They have been piqued by Karunanidhi’s refusal to share power.

Sections within the state Congress unit have even expressed a wish to revive the Tamil Maanila Congress, which can continue to keep its options open to begin negotiations with a possible third front in Tamil Nadu comprising PMK, the Left and other outfits headed by actor-turned politicians Vijaykanth, Sarath Kumar and M. Karthick.

“What do we gain from a government when we cannot even have the power to get a peon appointed in government service?” a senior Congress leader said, quoting the father of central Health Minister Anbumoni Ramadoss. The elder Ramadoss pulled his own PMK out of the Karunanidhi government a few months back.

But the DMK is not worried.

“We have more than the magic number of 118 - the simple majority - easily available to us through the backing of 35 MLAs belonging to the Congress even if one has to eventually subtract the 15 left legislators’ support in the assembly,” a senior DMK minister said.

“Who is there to challenge us? But for the BJP - whose presence in Tamil Nadu is a miniscule fraction above zero and the Vaiko-led MDMK, which has six legislators, other political parties here aren’t willing to touch the AIADMK with a bargepole,” the minister added.

But there are some who prophesy cross-voting by Congress legislators in a trial of strength at the assembly. “We need just 17 cross-votes to bring down the DMK government - two less than the number that helped Manmohan Singh win the trust vote on July 22,” said a former Congress minister at the centre who did not want to be identified.

On an otherwise quiet weekend, Satyamurthi Bhavan, the seat of the Congress party in Tamil Nadu, was buzzing with activity. One legislator who has been harping on the eventual return of ‘Kamaraj rule’ (Congress rule) in the state whistled an old Tamil film song which translates into English as “My heart is able to visualise a bright future”.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |