Karunanidhi asks party to extend full support to agitation

In further embarrassment to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), its southern partner, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), jumped on the Opposition bandwagon on Tuesday and voiced support to the general strike planned for September 20 against the hike in diesel price, the decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail and the restriction on subsidised domestic LPG cylinders.

The DMK’s decision came just as the Trinamool Congress announced its decision to quit the UPA.

In a statement here, DMK president M. Karunanidhi called upon the party’s trade union wing, the Labour Progressive Front, to extend full cooperation to make the national strike a success.

He also wanted the party’s various units to gear themselves for effective participation in the strike.

Mr. Karunanidhi said the Centre’s announcements had come at a time when the poor, farmers and agricultural labourers in Tamil Nadu were reeling under the burden caused by the steep hike in bus fare, milk price and electricity tariff effected by the AIADMK government.

Rajapaksa visit

Earlier in the day, the DMK chief expressed his vociferous opposition to the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. His sudden decision to join the national strike gave some indication of the widening gap between the Congress and its ally in Tamil Nadu.

On May 30, participating in a demonstration against a petrol price hike, Mr. Karunanidhi said his party was bitter but wanted to continue in the UPA as it did not want to create a crisis at the time of the Presidential election.