DMK rules out patch-up with govt as ministers submit resignations

After the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam decided on Tuesday to pull out of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, the five DMK ministers in the union government today submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

S S Palanimanickam, J Jagathrakshan and S Gandhiselvan were the first to submit their resignations, soon followed by M K Alagiri and D Napolean.

M Karunanidhi, president of the party which has its base in Tamil Nadu, issued a statement saying "our demands were not considered by the government" and "we reiterate our demands for stronger resolutions [on the Sri Lankan Tamils] issue" (See: Karunanidhi's DMK says quitting govt; cabinet in huddle).

Earlier today, finance minister P Chidambaram, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari and parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath addressed a press conference, saying that the government was taking strong diplomatic measures on the issue of alleged war crimes against Lankan Tamils.

Chidambaram claimed the DMK was aware of government's position on the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) resolution on Sri Lanka but changed its mind overnight between Monday and Tuesday.

India's position is that UNHRC should adopt a strong resolution on Sri Lanka, Chidambaram said.

Kamal Nath said that the government was "absolutely stable" despite the pull-out of DMK's 18 MPs. He said that the government was ready for a test of strength on the floor of the house.

Submitting his resignation along with those of other party MPs on Tuesday, DMK leader T R Balu negated earlier reports that a compromise with the top UPA leadership may be possible.

"Who said there is a window of resolution? After having submitted the letter of withdrawal of support, where is the window of resolution?" Baalu had said in response to reporters' questions.

He also scoffed off suggestions that his party may align itself with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.

With the DMK pullout, the UPA's numbers in the Lok Sabha are reduced to 224; but with the outside support of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, the main Uttar Pradesh political groups which between them have 43 MPs, the government can muster a working majority.