The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’s withdrawal from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was not influenced by the ongoing State-wide students’ protest movement, but was an outcome of deliberations within the party for a considerably long time.
Articulating this position, a senior leader of the party, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the DMK had been making its position clear on the Sri Lankan Tamils question for several months and in recent debates in Parliament, it expressed its views very forcefully.
The party took the decision to part ways after the party realised that the Union government was not serious enough to consider its proposals for amendments to the text of the resolution to be placed before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Another leader said the party had to take its decision before the UNHRC took up the resolution for discussion, which was scheduled for Thursday.
As regards the protest movement, the party president M. Karunanidhi respected those who were spearheading it.
Disagreeing with the perception that the withdrawal decision was an attempt by the party to retrieve the lost ground over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, the leaders recall how their organisation has been advocating the cause of the Tamils for decades. Even during the last phase of the Eelam War in 2009, Mr. Karunanidhi did everything to apply pressure on the Congress and the Union government to persuade the Sri Lankan government to declare a ceasefire.
On Wednesday, the DMK president, in a statement, recalled developments leading to his fast on April 27, 2009. He had broken the fast on the basis of a statement made by the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the Sri Lankan government had decided to end combat operations which was, in turn, based on an announcement of the island-nation’s government. Eventually, he called off the fast after an appeal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Defending the DMK patriarch’s decision to end the fast, one of the leaders says that when a person of the stature of Mr. Mukherjee makes a statement, how could a Chief Minister distrust him.
He drew a parallel between Mr. Karunanidhi’s decision (on the fast) and that of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in July 1993 when she broke her fast on the issue of implementation mechanism for the 1991 interim award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal after the then Water Resources Minister V.C. Shukla had assured her of action.