The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will continue in the Congress-led UPA at the Centre with a feeling of bitterness as it does not want to create a crisis for the government on the eve of the Presidential election, party president M. Karunanidhi said on Wednesday.
Mr. Karunanidhi, who earlier in the day led a demonstration against the hike in petrol price near the State Guest House here, clarified his position during interaction with reporters after a section of the media reported him as issuing, during his address at the demonstration, a warning to the Centre that the DMK would not hesitate to leave the alliance if it was under compulsion to compromise on its principles.
Addressing DMK members during the demonstration, Mr. Karunanidhi said that the party, in the past, whether it was part of the Janata Dal-led National Front government or the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had walked out of coalition to uphold its principles.
Later, describing the media reports as “mischievous”, Mr. Karunanidhi told reporters that he had only talked about what had happened in the past and did not make any comment on leaving the UPA.
“You cannot place the present government on a par with the governments in the past. It always takes into consideration our views and respects protest. It is the government in Tamil Nadu that does not respect others.”
Mr. Karunanidhi said he could not put any condition, “as desired by the media,” as the exit of the DMK from the Centre might pave way for a retrograde and communal rule. “We have to keep in mind the issues. But the Centre also should not create troubles for the people. I have also received information that the Prime Minister is considering a rollback in deference to people's protests. I will be happy if it leads to positive developments.”
Asked whether, as a constituent of the UPA, he had received any information about rollback, Mr. Karunanidhi said that it was only an assumption. “I expect good news from the Centre.”
To a question on the protests organised by his party across the State in the morning, he said that it was against the hike in petrol price and not against the Centre.
Earlier while he was addressing the demonstration in Chennai, DMK cadres were heard shouting, “Come out of Congress alliance.” Mr. Karunanidhi paused for a few seconds till the crowd vent its anger on the Congress before resuming his speech.
He said it was the responsibility of the Centre to ensure that the DMK was allowed to retain its core principles. Recalling the reported remarks of Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony against the petrol price, Mr. Karunanidhi said even if the Prime Minister had disregarded the views of others, he could not afford to ignore the voice of his Cabinet colleague.
Urging the Centre to roll back the hike in petrol price and the State government to bring down the increase in milk price, electricity tariff and bus fare, he threatened to launch a series of agitations if his demand was not met with a positive response.