Meet on Lanka: Parties disfavour Parliament resolution / TMC springs surprise, to support govt on Lankan Tamils issue


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The all-party meeting convened by Government to explore the possibility of Parliament adopting a resolution against Sri Lanka tonight saw most parties opposing such a move, leaving no scope for it.

At the 90-minute meeting, only DMK supported the idea of bringing a resolution. Sources said as most of the parties were not in favour, the idea is as good as given up. Samajwadi Party, which supports the government from outside, said Sri Lanka is a friendly country and the Indian parliament should not pass a resolution against it.

"We are with Lankan Tamils but there is no need for a resolution by Parliament as Lanka is the only country which stood with us during the 1962 China war.

"We have recently rejected Pakistan parliament resolution on Afzal Guru. How can we do the same to a friendly neighbour. At the UNHCR, India should do what is in the national interest and interst of Tamils of Lanka," said SP leader Rewati Raman Singh while emerging from the meeting convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.

JD(U) Sharad Yadav also echoed similar views at the meeting where he is understood to have questioned the logic of adopting a resolution against a sovereign nation.
He is believed to have told the meeting that if India has to provide relief to Sri Lankan Tamils, it should do so without antagonising the host country, sources said.
Nath said the meeting was "inconclusive"

He said the meeting had been called to end the impasse in Parliament over the Lankan Tamil issue but "it has not produced any results".

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj questioned why all parties had been called for the meeting to discuss an issue which strictly is between the government and DMK.

DMK, which withdrew from the government yesterday, had demanded that government should get a resolution passed by Parliament against Sri Lanka.

Swaraj said the government had told the Opposition that it wanted to hold the meeting to end the impasse in Parliament over Sri Lanka.

"We had never created the impasse. The impasse is between government and DMK and it is for them to sit together and resolve it," she said.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the issue was between the government and DMK to settle.

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TMC springs surprise, to support govt on Lankan Tamils issue

UPA’s estranged ally Trinamool Congress today sprang a surprise by promising to support the government on whatever stand it takes on Sri Lankan Tamils issue at the UNHRC.

"Our party is deeply concerned about sentiments expressed by the Tamil people. We share their sentiments and are completely with them," the party said in a tweet on its official account.

At the same time, it added, "On matters of external policy, we have, from the beginning, always left it to central government in moments of crisis. We will do the same on this occasion."

The statement implied that the party will stand by whatever position the government takes with regard to the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.

Sources told PTI that prior to the Trinamool statement, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had reached out to Mamata Banerjee by talking to her this morning.

Banerjee is understood to have conveyed the same sentiment to him as well.

DMK Parliamentary Party leader T.R. Baalu and party MP Tiruchi N. Siva after submitting the letter of withdrawal of support to President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday night. Photo:Sandeep Saxena

The Congress Core Group went into a huddle on Tuesday evening to discuss whether it was still possible to dissuade the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) from quitting the UPA government.

But even as efforts were on to see whether a resolution on the issue could be passed in Parliament to appease the DMK, ministerial sources said that with or without the party’s 18 MPs, the government was stable: the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party both affirmed their continued support to the government on Tuesday, they said. Union finance minister P. Chidambaram told journalists, “The government is stable and enjoys a majority in Lok Sabha. The government will continue.”

But beyond the numbers, it became clear on Tuesday that not even the DMK is in a mood to pull down the government. Conversations with the party’s MPs revealed that it was the domestic compulsions of politics in Tamil Nadu that has forced it to withdraw support from the government: in the coming weeks, it does not even wish to oppose the slew of government-sponsored bills that will be coming up in this session. As for other political parties, including the principal opposition party, the BJP, no one appeared to be keen to push the government into an early election.

The government’s party managers, led by Union parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath, have been working since Monday evening on mustering the numbers and on a possible resolution. The DMK’s demand included a strongly worded resolution in Parliament, as well as India proposing amendments to the US-sponsored UN resolution on similar lines. But several Congress ministers pointed out that any parliamentary resolution strong enough to satisfy the DMK would not get support from opposition parties like the BJP. More importantly, they added that whatever was said would have to be within India’s foreign policy framework.

DMK dumps UPA, rules out outside support

TALKING TOUGH: DMK president M. Karunanidhi with his son M.K. Stalin at a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday.

Karunanidhi says government not only allowed U.S. draft resolution to be diluted but also failed to consider amendments suggested by party

Amid raging protests by students and upsurge in pro-Tamil sentiment in Tamil Nadu in the run-up to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote against Sri Lanka, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday decided to come out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), arguing staying in the government and the ruling combine would do great harm to the cause.

DMK president M. Karunanidhi announced his party’s decision to quit both the government and the Congress-led UPA, just a day after Union Ministers P. Chidambaram, A.K. Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad tried in vain to persuade him to back down from his core demand that the U.S.-backed resolution at the Geneva-based UNHRC be made tougher. He also ruled out providing outside support to the government.

Late at night, the party got an appointment with the President to hand over a letter formally withdrawing support to the government.

The DMK has 18 members in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha. It has by one Cabinet Minister – M.K. Alagiri – and four Ministers of State.

Mr. Karunanidhi’s announcement was greeted by DMK leaders and cadre, who celebrated it by bursting of crackers and raising anti-Congress slogans.

Answering questions, Mr. Karunanidhi said the government had not only allowed the U.S. draft resolution to be diluted, but also failed to consider amendments suggested by the DMK. “It has created a situation that will in no way benefit Sri Lankan Tamils,” he told journalists at the DMK headquarters here.

The DMK chief said while the “genocide” in Sri Lanka was a topic of discussion on the world stage, India’s failure to understand the gravity of the situation and its indifference to the issue was anti-democratic. The Union government had let him down badly, he said, but rejected a suggestion that the general opinion was that the party should have quit in 2009 itself, terming it “perverse.”

He said everyone wanted the U.N. and the UNHRC to analyse the situation in a fair manner and take appropriate decision. “On the contrary, India opened its door for anti-democratic activities and no Tamil with self-respect will accept it.”

To a question, he said the party was ready to face Lok Sabha elections.

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