PMK splits from UPA to join AIADMK, Congress says ‘minor impact’ (Second Lead)

March 26th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Anbumani Ramadoss Chennai/New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) The PMK Thursday abandoned the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for a tie-up with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu ahead of the parliamentary elections that begin next month. The Congress hit back saying it made little difference.
A meeting of the General Council voted overwhelmingly for going with the Jayalalitha-led AIADMK in the parliamentary elections. While 2,453 members voted for the alliance with the AIADMK, only 117 voted for continuing in the UPA, PMK leader central Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.

The General Council meeting of the party, which has six seats in the Lok Sabha, was attended by all its senior leaders, including PMK founder S. Ramadoss and his son Anbumani.

The AIADMK has reportedly offered it seven Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha seats.

“As all of you have overwhelmingly voted for aligning with the AIADMK-led political alliance, I have to agreed to your wishes,” S. Ramadoss told the gathering to thunderous applause.

The voting took place after a meeting of the highest decision making body that went on for two hours.

Anbumani Ramadoss later told reporters that he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and handing over his resignation from the Congress-led central government “within the next few days”.

He added that the PMK would convey to the Congress leadership its decision to sail with the AIADMK.

He declined to answer further questions, saying S. Ramadoss would meet the press Friday while releasing the PMK election manifesto.

One furious Congress leader hit out at the PMK, calling it a communal party and saying that its defection would only make a minor impact in four or five Lok Sabha segments dominated by the Vanniyar community.

“The PMK’s decision to quit the alliance is not unexpected. The decision will not have any impact on UPA. The PMK is a communal party, which enjoys the support of the Vanniyar community. It will have only minor impact,” said K. Jayakumar, the Congress secretary from Tamil Nadu.

As the UPA whittled away, with the PMK joining the ranks of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) that have made their displeasure with the Congress apparent, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stepped in to say that there was no UPA.

“UPA is not existing now. It should be called Congress and allies. The main constituents of the UPA have left, realising that fighting elections with the Congress will affect them badly,” BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said.

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