DMK threatens to sit out over portfolios

The DMK said it may not join the Cong-led Govt unless three portfolios promised under an ‘understanding’ were allotted to it. Portfolios | New Cabinet
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Updated on May 25, 2004 10:03 AM IST
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PTI | ByG.C. Shekhar, Chennai

The DMK on Monday said it may not join the Manmohan Singh government unless three portfolios promised under an ‘understanding’ with the Congress were allotted to it. The three slots are: shipping for T.R. Baalu along with surface transport and highways, revenue under finance for S.S. Palanimanickam (MoS) and personnel and internal security under home for S. Regupathy (MoS).

“Our continuance in this government depends entirely on what decision the PM takes regarding these three portfolios,” said DMK president M. Karunanidhi. Though he said the PM had promised to resolve the matter in 10 days, Karunanidhi declared his ministers would not assume office till the issue was resolved to the DMK’s satisfaction.

Karunanidhi displayed a letter signed by him and Congress leader Janardhan Reddy which specified the ministries to be given to the DMK.

Congress sources said Reddy had made the assurance without adequately briefing the party brass.

While the Congress has signalled its intention to accommodate Karunanidhi, it wants the DMK to wait till the nine-day Parliament session beginning June 2 is over.

It’s clear why the DMK wants these portfolios. The revenue minister can deal directly with income-tax and other economic offence cases against J. Jayalalithaa. The personnel minister can control IAS officers, and — with privatisation on — shipping is gaining importance.

However, there’s no question of the party withdrawing support. “We’re not that narrow-minded,” said Karunanidhi.

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