Do not expel Naidu without UF debate: Karunanidhi
N Sathiya Moorthy in Madras
Is the United Front heading for a deadlock, if not disintegration, over the Telugu Desam Party question?
The Dravida Munnetra Kazagham seems sympathetic to the TDP which has decided to abstain from the confidence vote to be sought by a Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.
Opposing any unilateral decision by the UF on the TDP's expulsion, DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said, ''No one can take any individual decision on expelling the TDP from the UF. Only the UF steering committee can take any decision.''
Karunanidhi's sharp reaction is seen as a rebuff to the reported talks in the UF that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and combine's convener Nara Chandrababu Naidu should be shown the door.
Though Karunanidhi sounded guarded, indications are that the DMK does not want to precipitate action that could lead to the UF's disintegration.
''The Congress has already wrested the anti-BJP political initiative from the UF,'' said a party source. ''Any internal squabbles now could make the combine irrelevant.''
The DMK feels the internal contradictions within the BJP alliance could force a change of government, or another round of polls at an early date.
To tackle any such eventuality, the UF will require the TDP, according to the DMK.
Another DMK leader said his party would have adopted the TDP's stand had it won more seats. ''If the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham combine had not won 27 seats, the BJP would have needed the DMK's help,'' he said. ''Then the DMK, too, would have abstained from voting, facilitating a BJP government at the Centre.''
The DMK's present decision to vote against the BJP is thus a tricky affair, and the party seems to be keeping its options on the confidence vote open, said the source. ''After all, Karunanidhi has only been saying that the DMK would vote with the United Front, and it could have taken into account a situation where there is vertical split in the combine.''
Simply put, it could also mean that the DMK would vote against the BJP now, though its long-term sympathies could still be with that party.
Given the evolving equations between the DMK's Tamil Maanila Congress and the Congress, the party needs to be 'cautious and open'.
Additional reportage: UNI
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