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DMK not to join Cong-led ministry for now

May 15, 2004 21:42 IST

Adopting a wait and watch policy, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Saturday night decided against joining the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress coalition ministry at the Centre for the moment, but authorised its president Muthuvel Karunanidhi to take a decision 'depending on the circumstances'.

Karunanidhi told reporters after a meeting of the DMK executive that the party would watch the approach of Sonia Gandhi government for a 'reasonable time' before taking a decision on joining the ministry.

The executive had authorised him to take a decision on the issue 'depending on the circumstances', he said.

However, he declined to reveal the reasons for the decision despite repeated questions from the media.

The stability of the ministry would not be affected by DMK's decision as its support to the Sonia Gandhi government would be 'firm', he said.

He pointed out that DMK was the party to give a call to the people to make her the prime minister of the country.

Karunanidhi said he would leave for New Delhi tomorrow, when he would meet Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.

Karunanidhi said the party had not fixed any timeframe for joining the ministry. "We will extend our support for the stability of the government. We want a stable government at the Centre," he said.

Asked whether the party's 'bitter experience' with the Vajpayee government had led to its decision against participation in the ministry for the time being, he replied in the negative.

He also replied in the negative when asked whether he had discussed the issue of joining the ministry with the CPI-M general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet.

Asked if the decision was only for 'better bargaining', he shot back: "The question is not in good taste."

The DMK had already sent its election manifesto for incorporation of points in the common minimum programme drafted by a committee, headed by senior Congress leader Dr Manmohan Singh. The issues, which needed immediate attention, should form part of the CMP, he said. He said the party would demand immediate repeal of POTA.

On divestment, the DMK leader said the party was opposed to divestment of profit making public sector units.

On whether he was offered the deputy prime ministership by Sonia Gandhi, Karunanidhi said he only read some reports on the matter. "I am happy to continue as DMK president," he said.

Demanding the resignation of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, for 'committing a fraud' on the public by allegedly 'indulging in large-scale deletion' of voters names from the electoral rolls, he said he was not pressing for the imposition of President's Rule by invoking Article 356.

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