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|October 7, 1999||
DMK mulls over joining NDA government at Centre
Senior leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, heading the National Democratic Alliance in Tamil Nadu, will discuss the matter of joining the government the NDA will form at the Centre, Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi said today.
Talking to journalists at his Goplapuram home and, later, at the party headquarters, Anna Arivalayam, a visibly happy Karunanidhi said he had not discussed the matter with the party general secretary and other leaders and the DMK had not yet taken any decision on the issue.
He said he would leave for Delhi on Friday morning for the meeting of NDA leaders.
Karunanidhi, the NDA leader in the state, indicated that the BJP was free to admit new parties into the alliance. When pressed further, he quipped, "Are you ready" (to join the NDA)?
This assumed significance in the wake of speculations that the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra have evinced interest in joining the NDA.
Asked about the stability of a government formed from 24 parties, considering the short life of the last coalition the BJP had cobbled together with 18 other parties, Karunanidhi said the number was immaterial. It was the question of the attitudes of the parties and their desire for a stable government, he said.
He agreed with the BJP that the NDA, without AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalitha, could provide a stable government at the Centre.
On the role the DMK would play at the national level, the chief minister, in an obvious dig at Jayalalitha, said his party would be sincere to the alliance and would not "play games". It would be firm in honouring the commitments made in the NDA election manifesto, he said.
Asked whether the DMK would press for the implementation of any specific plan by the new government, Karunanidhi said such plans had already been included in the election manifesto. However, the DMK would strive to bring about a change in the country, he added.
The chief minister said he had telephoned Prime Minister A B Vajpayee this morning and congratulated him on the NDA's victory at the national level.
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