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May 30, 2012, 07.26 PM IST
Minutes after making a statement against the UPA, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Wednesday said that he never threatened the Centre of a pull out from the coalition over the petrol price hike.
"I never said we will come out. I only spoke of the past that we came out when centre didn't listen to us. This is media mischief. We have no condition that if they don't rollback, we will come out of UPA. If we come out, the Centre would become weak, We don''t wish that. I'm hearing the Prime Minister wants to work for the welfare of the people and that he's thinking about the trouble the common man is facing," he said.
Taking a dig at Tamil Nadu chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, he said, "I don't know how to do drama. The one who's used to drama is the one who's in power in the state now."
"The DMK has been part of central coalitions in the past - with the BJP, with VP Singh. Though we are part of the central coalition but haven't hesitated to stop anti-people policies. We will try to sail with the Centre as much as we can but if it's not possible, we will leave to uphold our principles and policies. I hope the central and state governments will not give room to drive us to that extent," Karunanidhi said.
"The DMK is in the coalition. But (being in) alliance is different but it is our duty to voice concern against policies that will affect the people," Karunanidhi told a large gathering of party supporters to protest against the Central government for hiking petrol prices and the state government for increasing bus fares and milk prices.
The 88-year-old DMK patriarch said his party had walked out of alliances, "whether it be the BJP (led NDA) or while being in the VP Singh cabinet."
"We have never hesitated to raise voice of opposition whenever the basic principles were hurt and if we cannot solve it by being an ally, we have not hesitated to come out and uphold those principles," he said even as his remarks were loudly cheered by partymen.
Describing the hike as "atrocious", Karunanidhi said not just opposition parties or UPA constituents but even Congress leader and Defence Minister AK Antony had expressed dissent over the petrol price hike, saying it was unacceptable. "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should take cognizance of this and offer relief to the common man," he said.
Karunanidhi, who demanded a substantial reduction in the Rs 7.50 per litre petrol price hike, said both Centre and state should vie to win people's goodwill by reducing the burden on them.
"There should be a competition among the two in doing this and they have to vie to win people's goodwill," he said while recalling that his government had earlier reduced tax on fuel when their prices were hiked.
Targeting his arch rival and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi alleged that she was leading an "inefficient cabinet," and that her government was least bothered about people but more on "accumulating wealth."
"The fact that she allows none of the Ministers to make statements in the Assembly and she does all of them shows she has realised they are inefficient," the five time former Chief Minister said.
Slamming Jayalalithaa for hiking the power tariff, he said it was "undue hike for power that is not available."
"The Centre had at least explained the reason for the fuel price hike but Jayalalithaa had not come out with the genuine reason," he said.
Jayalalithaa had justified the hike, saying government was forced to take the step due to the weak financial situation of loss-making state government undertakings.
The DMK chief also attacked her for spending "huge" taxpayer money on newspaper advertisements following completion of one year in office.
Besides Karunanidhi, senior party leaders, his son and DMK Treasurer MK Stalin and general secretary K Anbazhagan led the protests elsewhere in the state.
Reacting to DMK's warning, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "DMK is a respectable ally of UPA. There is no difference between Congress and DMK. They have all right to hold protest."
Earlier, another UPA ally Trinamool Congress (TMC) had also attacked the Centre over the petrol price hike. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on May 26 led a protest rally of several thousand Trinamool supporters in Kolkata, demanding a roll back.
Mamata asked her supporters to further organise more rallies across the state demanding a roll back. Her Trinamool Congress is the second largest partner in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The government has been slammed for the hike in petrol prices by opposition parties as well as its allies since the announcement. The petrol price hike caused unease in the Congress also with party MPs fearing it could lead to a huge blacklash but a section of party leaders felt it was unavoidable at a time when the focus was on economic reforms.
In the steepest ever increase, petrol rates were recently raised by a massive Rs 7.54 per litre, the first hike in rates in six months. This is the steepest hike in petrol price ever, the previous high being Rs 5 per litre. The rates were last increased on November 4 2011.
Tags: UPA, DMK, M Karunanidhi, petrol, price, Tamil Nadu, government, elections, Prime Minister, Jayalalithaa, BJP
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