Amid raging protests by students and an upsurge in pro-Lankan Tamil sentiment in Tamil Nadu in the run-up to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote against Sri Lanka, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday decided to come out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), arguing that staying in the government and the ruling combine would do great harm to the cause of Lankan Tamils.
DMK president M. Karunanidhi announced his party’s decision to quit both the government and the Congress-led UPA, just a day after Union Ministers P. Chidambaram, A. K. Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad tried in vain to persuade him to back down from his core demand that the U.S.-backed resolution at the Geneva-based UNHRC be made tougher. He also ruled out providing outside support to the UPA government.
The DMK has 18 members in the Lok Sabha and six members in the Rajya Sabha. Mr. Karunanidhi’s announcement was greeted by DMK leaders and cadre, who celebrated it by bursting of crackers and raising anti-Congress slogans.
Mr. Karunanidhi said the government had not only allowed the U.S. draft resolution to be diluted, but also failed to consider implementing amendments suggested by the DMK. “It has created a situation that will in no way benefit Sri Lankan Tamils,” he told journalists at the DMK headquarters here.
The DMK chief said while the “genocide” in Sri Lanka was a topic of discussion on the world stage, India’s failure to understand the gravity of the situation and its indifference was anti-democratic. The Centre had let him down badly, he said, but rejected a suggestion that the general opinion was that the party should have quit in 2009 itself, terming it “perverse.”
He said everyone wanted the U.N. and the UNHRC to analyse the situation in a fair manner and take an appropriate decision. “On the contrary, India opened its door for anti-democratic activities and no Tamil with self-respect will accept it.”
J. Balaji reports from New Delhi:
Soon after submitting the letter of withdrawal of support to President Pranab Mukherjee at night, the DMK said it would function as a constructive opposition party. “We are not here to topple the government,” said DMK spokesperson T.K.S. Elangovan.