DMK decision on Sri Lanka after consulting allies, other parties

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which will finalise its stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue at intra-party fora, will announce the decision after consulting allies and other parties, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Saturday.

Describing his party as a democratic organisation, Mr. Karunanidhi, in a statement, said that though he could decide on some major issues on his own, he did not conduct himself like a dictator. Normally, political parties, before participating in all-party meetings, firmed up their position after deliberating among themselves.

He was reacting to Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss’s observation that the Sri Lankan Tamils issue was not an intra-party matter to be decided by the ruling party’s executive council.

Mr. Karunanidhi said that all contributions to the Sri Lankan Tamils Relief Fund, instituted by the State government, were received through cheques. They had been accounted for. As part of the initial phase, relief materials were sent to Sri Lanka. The remainder of the collections lay with the government, the Chief Minister said, responding to All India Anna Dravida Munentra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa on the issue. Only a few days ago, he had received, through the External Affairs Ministry, a letter from a Jaffna-based bishop, Thomas Soundaranayakam, who appreciated the gesture of the people of the State in sending the relief materials.

Referring to Ms. Jayalalithaa’s clarification that she had not expressed support for the Sri Lankan army, Mr. Karunanidhi said this was not the first time she was “withdrawing” her statement.

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