DMK president M Karunanidhi, who had last night accused the Congress of being unreasonable in its demand, on Saturday charged the ally of trying to push it out of the UPA.
But this is considered as another pressure tactics by the Dravida Munnetta Kazhakam. DMK's withdrawal of support is not going to affect UPA government.
The meeting of the party's high-powered committee presided over by him adopted a resolution to pull out of the government and to give issue-based support.
Apparently referring to the Congress' demand of 63 seats of its choice after agreeing to 60, he said the Congress stand does not help for an amicable poll accord.
Initially Congress was ready to accept DMK's 60 seat proposal. But last minute Congress changed its stand and demanded three more seats. This surprised DMK. Union Health Minister and Congress-in-charge of Tamil Nadu Ghulam Nabi Azad was in Chennai on Mar 3rd for negotiations. But he didn't meet DMK supremo Karunanidhi. This is termed as Congress's disinterest in continuing the tie up with DMK.
Recently in an election survey conducted by Outlook weekly has said that the AIADMK-led front has an advantage over ruling DMK-led alliance in the coming Tamil Nadu assembly elections. It is observered that, this also influenced Congress' new stand. AICC's own observations also were in the same lines.
"We are compelled to suspect that these are all efforts by Congress to push us out of the UPA. Under these circumstances we have to think whether to continue in the government."
"So we have decided to relieve ourselves from the government," Karunanidhi told the meeting.
He made it clear that while pulling out its six ministers from the Union Cabinet, the party would give issue-based support to the Manmohan Singh government during times of trouble.
With 18 MPs, the DMK is the second largest ally of Congress in the UPA after Trinamool Congress which has 19 MPs.
The DMK's decision today puts the seven-year-old successful alliance between the two parties under severe strain ahead of the April 13 polls when it faces a tough challenge from rival AIADMK which has already tied-up with actor Vijayakant's DMDK and Left parties.
The DMK-Congress alliance swept all the 40 Lok Sabha seats including the lone Puducherry seat in the 2004 elections and won 28 seats in the 2009 general elections.
The combine also won the 2006 Assembly elections, though DMK could not get a majority on its own.
The DMK's action of withdrawing ministers does not appear to pose immediate threat to the Congress-led coalition in case of a trial of strength. The ruling coalition has the backing of 310 MPs, including the outside support being provided by parties like SP, BSP and RJD.
Shortly after the announcement of the party stand, DMK parliamentary party leader T R Baalu said the party would "definitely" have discussions with the Congress if it agrees to the terms and conditions set by Karunanidhi.
In Delhi, the Congress declined to respond to DMK's accusations and merely maintained that negotiations were still on and an agreement on seat-sharing could be reached.
Maintaining that Congress does not want DMK to continue in the government, Karunanidhi said the party's attitude surprises the DMK because it has been instrumental in creating some problems ahead of the elections.
Looking at the efforts taken for the alliance and the problems being created, the DMK supremo felt that he was compelled to wonder whether the Congress was using these as an effort to make the DMK get out of the alliance instead of trying to arrive at an amicable settlement.
The resolution adopted at the meeting specifically referred to the Congress demand of 60 seats over 48 it contested in the earlier elections and DMK's acceptance of it and its subsequent stand that it needs 63 constituencies of its choice.
"The DMK feels that the Congress may be deliberately doing this to show clearly that they were not in favour of us continuing in the government.
"In these circumstances, the DMK considered the situation and decides that it will relieve itself from the government and support it on the basis of issues," the resolution said.
(Inputs from Agencies)