"Dismissal? we have the support of the PSB," chuckled electricity minister Arcot N Veerasamy of the DMK in private at the end of the daylong hunger strike on Monday.
PSB is short for President Pratibha Patil, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala. As long as these three call the shots, the DMK is confident the Karunanidhi government is safe.
“Jayalalitha is under the illusion that she can get our government dismissed like she did in 1991. President Pratibha Patil, whom we supported and gave a massive reception in Chennai would never dismiss us. As long as Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, who respect Karunanidhi, are in charge not even the UN, leave alone the Supreme Court, can dismiss the DMK government,” Arcot said.
And then, DMK sources point out, there is Governor Surjit Singh Barnala – the man who refused to oblige the Chadrashekhar government with a report to dismiss the DMK government in 1991. The Centre went ahead with the dismissal, nevertheless.
Barnala was brought in as the state’s Governor on the DMK’s insistence after the UPA came to power. His tenure has also been extended. Most important, is the Manmohan Singh government's dependence on the DMK to survive in the face of the Left threat to pull the plug over the nuclear deal.
Even if the Supreme Court recommends the President to impose President’s rule, citing constitutional breakdown, the President would send it to the Union Cabinet, said a DMK leader. That the Centre is in no mood to oblige the apex court has already been made clear by Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi who asserted: "We will not disturb the DMK government remotely, directly or explicitly."
But the DMK was not this confident earlier in the day. When the Supreme Court’s observations came around 11 a.m., a nervousKarunanidhi, who had planned to fast till 1 pm, abruptly left for the Secretariat to give credence to his government’s “all is normal claim”.