Tamils issue major poll plank for DMK

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Chennai, Mar 11: Resolving to demonstrate the strength of DMK in the Lok Sabha polls, party chief M Karunanidhi on Tuesday expressed confidence of putting up a good show without taking on board a national outfit as an ally and showcased Tamils cause to win support of the electorate.

The 90-year-old DMK patriarch, who stood a firm ground in spurning revival of ties attempted by its former ally Congress and also overtures by BJP and aligned with local outfits like VCK, MMK, IUML and Puthiya Tamizhagam, asserted that his party had not suffered a setback in the absence of a national party in the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA).

"No, no. There is no setback,", Karunanidhi asserted when mediapersons queried whether there was any setback for DMK as it had no national outfit as part of its alliance.

Releasing the DMK manifesto, which was shorn of freebies to the electorate, unlike the ones promised by AIADMK, it however, pledged to continue its fight for the cause of Tamils the world over, pressurise the Centre to enhance IT exemption limit to Rs six lakh to men and Rs 7.20 lakh to women, appointment of Tamil envoys in places where the diaspora lives in sizeable strength, among others.

DMK also gave an assurance to voters that it will pursue implementation of its pet Sethusamudram project and to influence the next government at the Centre to build 'Samathuvapurams' (an all caste residential settlement) across the country to promote social harmony and casteless society.

As for marginalised and minorities, the party was for 30 per cent reservation for women in central government jobs, proper implementation of reservation in PSUs for differently abled, recognition of transgenders as third gender and expand self-respect (inter-caste) marriages across the country.

The party also promised nationalisation and linking of Indian rivers, to grant ST status to fishermen, a separate ministry for fishermen's welfare, redeeming of Katchatheevu, abolition of death sentence, full-fledged statehood for Puducherry and waiving of education and agriculture loans.

In an attempt to reply to the oft orchestrated accusations by the ruling AIADMK that DMK had done nothing for welfare of people of the state and for its development though it was part of Central government for about 17 years, DMK outlined its achievements in the manifesto.

AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has been making the "failures" of DMK a major poll plank in her electioneering for Lok Sabha polls.

DMK rejected overtures by Congress for revival of poll truck and also attempts by BJP to lure it. Though Karunanidhi's party was keen on accommodating the Left Parties after they parted company with AIADMK on seat sharing tangle, CPI and CPM did not respond positively.

DMK is contesting 35 of 40 seats (39 in Tamil Nadu and one in Pondicherry) and has allocated five seats to its allies. Karunanidhi said he did not see the prospect of the DPA alliance expanding in the coming days under the prevailing political atmosphere.

When asked who would be DMK's choice for Prime Minister post as BJP and Congress have been projecting Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi respectively, Karunanidhi remarked "it will be one who is not of them".

PTI

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