To join or not to join - Karunanidhi meets senior DMK leaders

May 24th, 2009 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chennai, May 24 (IANS) Hectic moves were afoot in the DMK camp Sunday to resolve the impasse on ministry sharing with party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi meeting senior party leaders individually at his residence here before taking a final call on joining the Congress-led UPA government.
“The party chief is meeting senior party leaders individually and a final decision on joining the UPA government is expected be known this (Sunday) evening,” a DMK senior leader told IANS requesting anonymity.

“Our demand was nine ministerial berths. The Congress may settle down for seven,” the leader said, adding that first time parliamentarians may not be given cabinet rank but only Minister of State.

After several rounds of talks on sharing of ministerial berths failed, the DMK announced Thursday night that it would support the UPA government from outside. Manmohan Singh was sworn in as prime minister as well as 19 others as ministers on Friday. The portfolios of six ministers were announced Saturday.

A new round of ministers is expected to be sworn in this week, most probably Tuesday.

The DMK leader said the Congress wants to keep the infrastructure portfolios like shipping, surface transport and power. However, the DMK is keen to complete the Sethu Samudram project and it feels that if a party member is not given the shipping portfolio then the project to create a shipping canal in the Palk Strait will remain in limbo.

However, the general feeling in the leadership is that the DMK will join the government.

He said if the DMK decides to participate, then a Congress leader would come down to Chennai and both the parties will jointly announce the DMK’s joining the government.

The Congress-led UPA commands 322 seats in the new Lok Sabha. The DMK, a major pre-poll ally, has 18 seats and has been bargaining hard for ministerial berths to party leaders, including members of the Karunanidhi family.

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