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Centre must not remain spectator: DMK

The DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, being taken to the venue of the party's conference in Salem in a horse-drawn chariot driven by the former Minister, Veerapandi S. Arumugham, on Saturday. -- Photo: K. Ananthan  

SALEM, AUG. 21. Some leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) today sought the dismissal of the Tamil Nadu Government, giving instances of its ``anti-democratic manner of functioning'' and citing ``the deteriorating law and order situation''.

At the opening of the party's two-day special conference, to celebrate the victory of the Democratic Progressive Alliance in the Lok Sabha poll and the 81st birthday of the DMK leader, M. Karunanidhi, at the foothills of the Kumaragiri hills just outside Salem, the organising committee chairman and senior leader, Veerapandi S. Arumugham, set the tone for the proceedings of the day, saying ``the Centre should not remain a silent spectator'' when the AIADMK Government was carrying out acts of ``political vendetta'' with scant regard for democratic norms and the will of the people.

Though he was aware that Mr. Karunanidhi was against dismissal of elected Governments invoking Article 356 of the Constitution, it was ``not wrong'' to apply the provisions in Tamil Nadu now, said Mr. Arumugham.

The minimum needed to be done was suspension of the Assembly under Article 355. ``This is my desire, my request,'' he said.

N. Siva, former member of Parliament, said this Government should go for the lost glory of Tamil Nadu to be restored.

`Misleading people'

The deputy general secretary, M.K. Stalin, listed the ``misdeeds'' of the AIADMK Government and said it was because she accepted defeat in the Lok Sabha elections that the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, announced rollbacks in rates of services and utilities recently.

The restoration of free power to farmers, withdrawal of defamation cases and re-introduction of free bus pass to school students were among the many instances in which the Government first misled the people, took away the benefits and restored them later.

Refraining from asking for tdismissal of the Government, he said the people would give it a fitting reply.

In the evening, DMK Union Ministers, speaking on allotted topics, criticised the functioning of the Tamil Nadu Government and said a change of regime alone would bring relief to the people.

Others who spoke, including MLAs and former ministers, felt that the time was ripe for Central intervention.

Whether the sentiments expressed by the speakers are acceptable to the party leadership will be known tomorrow, when resolutions are passed.

Earlier, Mr. Karunanidhi came to the venue in a horse-drawn carriage.

Thousands of cadres, who had arrived from all over the State, thronged the roads leading to the venue to catch a glimpse of the leader riding in the chariot driven by Mr. Arumugham.

Mr. Stalin hoisted the party flag.