DMK quits UPA, but to stay in Ministry
New Delhi/Kolkata/Chennai: On a day of constantly changing events, the Congress, in what is being seen as a canny political master stroke, decided to walk out of the UPA government at the Centre in a symbolic show of solidarity with the Trinamool Congress (TMC), which too has announced its plans to sever its ties with the UPA.
And the indication from Maharashtra is that the other important constituent of the alliance block, the NCP, which too is miffed with the ways of the UPA government, will also quickly follow suit.
Meanwhile, in related activity in Chennai, the DMK, which was another cog in the UPA wheel, said it too was withdrawing itself from the UPA, but was not resigning from the Ministry.
The DMK Ministers in the Cabinet, however, asserted that their respective Ministries would join the government as when it is formed by other parties.
With all the main players withdrawing, the UPA government, reduced to a unique minority with no party actually in it, is clearly set to be booted out. Highly placed sources privy to the developments, however, said that the parties, who have pulled the plug on the UPA, are now most likely step into the breach and form a new government with the primary view of —- there is an interesting twist here — keeping at bay ‘the communal forces’.
‘The parties in the UPA were not unhappy with each other. But all of them were mighty miffed with the working of the UPA government. So, in a truly democratic manner, they have decided to part ways with the UPA and come out and form a non-UPA government,’ sources explained.
It is learnt that the Congress, the TMC and the NCP each have given separate notices, one to the Speaker, and another to the President.
The notice to the Speaker says: ‘We are resigning from the government’.
The notice to the President reads: ‘We are forming the government’.
A separate notice, to no one in particular, from the DMK said: ‘We are already in the government’.
Meanwhile, talking to newsmen at New Delhi, Ambika Soni of the Congress said her party’s decision to withdraw from the UPA was to show solidarity to the TMC, which had always been a valuable ally. ‘We are backing our sentiments with actions. That is why the Congress too is resigning from the Congress-led UPA along with the TMC,’ she explained earnestly.
‘We are already looking forward to a fresh beginning with the TMC and other alliance partners. As an expression of our commitment to our alliance partners, we also assure that we would not bring to the table the issue of the FDI in retail sector again,’ Ambika Soni said. ‘Whatever happened with the previous UPA government should be treated as bygones. We will not talk about the FDI in retail issue again. For the sake of continuity in matters of governance, we will just silently follow the policy that the previous government had pursued’.
Soni also made it clear that her party was not averse to the new government, too being called the UPA government. ‘What is in a name? At any rate, we were not comfortable with the previous UPA government’s policies only, not its name’.
In Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee reacted cautiously to the latest developments. ‘I am happy that the Congress too has understood that the UPA government was pursuing anti-people policies.’
‘But we will reserve our comments on the Congress and see their performance as an alliance partner in the new government, she said and added ‘if they behaved badly, we will have no hesitation walking out of the government and, well, forming a new government with them. After all, in democracy, and T20 cricket, you need to keep giving chance, be it Manmohan Singh or Harbhajan Singh. However disastrous they might have proved to be ’.
Meanwhile in Chennai, the DMK president M Karunanidhi said that there was nothing amiss in his party Ministers not resigning from the Cabinet.
Constitutionally, our Ministers cannot resign, Karunanidhi explained and added: ‘With the Prime Minister himself and others from the Congress announcing their resignation from the government, to whom will our Ministers hand their resignation letters over?’
‘The Constitution is clear that the President can accept the resignation of any Minister only on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. And if the Prime Minister himself resigns before everyone, the rest of the Ministers have no other go but to remain as Ministers,’ Karunanidhi rationally pointed out.
Reacting to the developments, the BJP said the fall of the UPA government was a victory to its policy. ‘Buoyed by this success, we will continue to follow the same policy and bring down the new UPA government, too,’ party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said. ‘The Congress knows that we will keep firing on all cylinders. That is why it brought a cap on cylinder consumption,’ he added.
Elsewhere, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, the Left parties and the TDP, in a joint communiqué said, ‘no matter which parties come to power, we in the notional Third Front will continue our struggle to form a national Third Front’.
(Disclaimer: I am going to resign from writing disclaimers)
(Disclaimer 1: The previous line was a joke. What? You know it already? All threats to resignation are a joke only).