The Centre would have deferred its decision on disinvestment in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation had the State government stuck to its stand against the sale of shares in the public sector undertaking, said M. Karunanidhi, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, here on Thursday.

When a similar decision was announced in 2006, the DMK brought pressure on the Union government, which ultimately gave up its disinvestment move in NLC. A similar pressure, combined with the indefinite strike of employees, would have forced the government to rescind its move. But the decision of the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa (to buy the shares on behalf of State PSUs), had only made the State government abide by the original decision of the Securities and Exchange Board of India to sell NLC shares to the public, he opined in a statement. He also recalled his letter to the Prime Minister seeking special exemption for NLC from disinvestment. — Special Correspondent