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DMK threatens to pull out of UPA on NLC issue

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, July 6 (UNI) The DMK, a major constituent of the UPA government, today gave jitters to the Centre, threatening to pull out of the ruling coalition in protest against the decision to offload 10 per cent stake in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation in Tamil Nadu.

The DMK's sentiments, expressed by the party President and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, were conveyed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Communications and IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

Talking to reporters, Mr Maran, however, sought to play down the issue, stating that ''we are part of the government and the matter will be sorted out within the UPA.'' The Prime Minister would now talk to Mr Karunanidhi, apparently to find a way out, Mr Maran said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Karunanidhi indicated to reporters in Chennai that the DMK would pull out of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre if it failed to rescind its decision to divest equity in the public sector NLC.

''As the Centre is not in a position to concede the demand of NLC workers to drop the decision, I am wondering whether the DMK should be part of the UPA Government and share responsibility for its decision,'' he told newspersons at his party headquarters 'Anna Arivalayam' here.

Mr Karunanidhi said he had directed the Union Ministers belonging to the DMK to inform the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the party's stand.

The DMK is persisting with its opposition to the disinvestment decision, taken by the Union Cabinet recently, despite Dr Singh's announcement that NLC employees would be allowed ''substantial part'' of the shares during the disinvestment.

The Prime Minister had said that the decision to involve the NLC in the disinvestment process was taken in deference to the wishes of the DMK.

UNI WS/YJ VD HS1423

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