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DMK's Baalu makes 'token presence' at UPA function

Last updated on: May 22, 2011 21:05 IST

Smarting under the electoral debacle and arrest of party MP Kanimozhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Sunday made a token presence at the second anniversary celebrations of UPA-II where none of its six Union ministers were present.

The DMK, the third largest constituent in the UPA coalition with 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, was represented only by its Parliamentary Party Leader T R Baalu at the function held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence in New Delhi.

Baalu was seen sitting next to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on the dais. He came to Delhi from Chennai in the evening after a high-level DMK meeting presided by party chief M Karunanidhi decided to send him as the party representative at the function.

Six DMK ministers, including two in the cabinet rank -- Dayanidhi Maran and M K Alagiri -- did not attend the dinner, which saw the participation of leaders of other allies.

Sources said the decision to have a low-key representation was taken as the DMK is not in a celebratory mood with Kanimozhi in jail on bribery charges.

Earlier, in Chennai when asked about the DMK-Congress ties, Karunanidhi said, "It is not like what you think."

Upset over her arrest, Karunanidhi had on Friday said he was in a position like that of any father whose daughter faced a similar situation for no fault of hers.

In his letter to party cadres on Saturday night, Karunanidhi sought to blame the Congress for DMK's debacle in the recent assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

"This is a time when the DMK has suffered a huge defeat by losing power in the state. What are the reasons for the defeat? Whether it was the seats allotted to parties aligned with us or the constituencies forcibly taken from us or the unprecedented restrictions imposed by the Election Commission? I don't want to go into these reasons now," he had said in the letter.

In their speech, both Prime Minister Singh and Congress chief Gandhi referred to the results of the recent Assembly elections.

Gandhi said the UPA-II has been successful in three of the five states that went to polls recently.

"The messages of the results, of course, are specific to each state. But there is a common thread. People want and reward good, effective and accountable governance. This will continue to be our focus," she said.

Singh said in a democracy, every political party has the responsibility to ensure political stability.

"Predictable change is a part of democratic politics. In the past few weeks our country was proud to witness peaceful elections to five state assemblies. Apart from the historic verdict in West Bengal, in other states too participation in elections was very high. This reaffirms our people's faith in the institutions of democracy," he said.

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