Ministers of India’s regional Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party submitted their resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday after the Southern Party withdrew its support from the Government demanding amendments in the resolution against Sri Lanka for the crimes committed in the country’s civil war.
DMK is based in Tamil Nadu, and has often pressured the Government to do more to protect Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population. It wants the Indian Government to introduce stronger language into the resolution, including the use of the word ‘genocide’. The Government has yet to give a response on what its position on the resolution would be.
Having 18 seats in the lower house of the Indian Parliament DMK, as part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition, already rules in a minority. Singh’s Congress party can continue to govern with parliamentary support from two other regional parties.
After informing the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee about their decision to pull the plug from the coalition on Tuesday 19 March, DMK leaders met Singh and submitted their resignation letters.
“We have handed over the resignation letters to the Prime Minister. Three of the resignation letters have already been handed over. Another two, M.K. Alagiri and Napoleon will be presenting their resignation shortly,” DMK leader Thalikottai Rajuthevar Baalu said outside the Parliament.
India’s Information and broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said that the ruling Government had always remained sensitive to the demands of all their coalition partners.
“It is correct that our coalition partner had some political compulsions in their state with regards to the situation in the neighbouring country. They were sensitive about that issue. Hence they withdrew their support.
“But as for us, when it comes to that issue or if we look at it from a broader perspective, the UPA Government has always made it a point to deal with its coalition partners with sensitivity and that is how we have governed for the past nine years,” Tiwari said.
However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained that the Government had lost control over its coalition partners and the brunt was being faced by the people of the country.
“The manner in which allies of the UPA Government are disrupting the Parliament and the Government has no alternative. The Samajwadi party is supporting them, DMK was their ally until last night, but they have been with the Government for the past 10 years. But the policy and intent of the Government still remains unclear, while the country is suffering,” BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said.
The DMK’s withdrawal will make life harder for Singh’s Government, which will now be even more at the mercy of smaller parties which are sceptical of economic reforms aimed at reviving stuttering growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.
It also heightens the chance that the Government, which is due to hold national polls by the middle of 2014, could call a snap election if it is unable to push through any legislation.
The Government needs 271 seats of 543 to survive any possible confidence vote. After the pullout of the DMK, the Congress alliance has about 235 seats, but they could narrowly survive any vote with the outside support of other parties.