MK is indifferent to allies, says PMK chief
By R. BHAGWAN SINGH and B. KOLAPPAN
Chennai, March 2: PMK leader Dr S. Ramadoss further upped his ante against his ally, chief minister M. Karunanidhi, accusing him of not consulting the parties propping up his government even on important issues.
“We cannot blindly support every action of this government, more so when they do not bother to consult the allies on any critical matters such as price rise, unemployment and the Cauvery and Mullaiperiyar water disputes. They expect us to shut our eyes and open our mouths only to sing their praise. Do they think the PMK is a branch office of their (DMK) party?” asked Dr Ramadoss, sounding very bitter at being ignored by the senior ally.
Listing out lots of instances and issues where the chief minister “deemed it unnecessary and inappropriate to consult the others,” Dr Ramadoss said the ruling party “has only 96 legislators (in the Assembly of 234 members) but is behaving as though it has absolute majority.” The PMK chief recalled that the Prime Minister had recently urged the chief ministers to initiate steps to control prices and asked, “Has our chief minister convened any meeting of his ministers and other political parties to discuss this crucial issue?” A similar attitude of indifference towards broad consultations prevailed in the ruling party with respect to other important subjects too, he claimed. While the Karnataka government circulated the copies of the Cauvery Tribunal award to all the political parties and media offices, the DMK regime reached a copy to his office “late in the night and that too only after I demanded it.” On his part, he had been consistently raising important issues—such as the need to revamp the ‘stagnant’ education system “from degenerating further as a mere trade” and reducing the government liquor shops—but the government seemed indifferent, PMK chief said.
“The PMK has released draft budgets every year but this government has not bothered to send even its officers to discuss the fiscal priorities that we have laid out,” he said..
For someone who has been such staunch supporter of the DMK and its octogenarian leader, Dr Ramadoss now comes out as one deeply hurtsuch staunch supporter of the DMK and its octogenarian leader, Dr Ramadoss now comes out as one deeply hurt at being constantly ignored and repeatedly humiliated. “They are behaving as though only the DMK has ministers at the Centre. Even the good work done by the PMK members of the Central Cabinet is being hijacked by the DMK leaders as their own,” he said.
Quoting an instance, he said his son and Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani had sanctioned Rs.100 crore for upgrading facilities at the
“But that should not be taken to mean that we will not question when things go wrong in the government. In fact, it is not good for an ally to remain silent when the government fails on any issue. We must behave as a constructive opposition, particularly when the media here is not playing its watchdog role,” Dr Ramadoss said.
The PMK chief recalled that his party and the other constituents of the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance each had their individual manifestos during the state elections.
“While we decided to extend support to the DMK government from outside, we also insisted on having a Common Minimum Programme to ensure that the fruits of good governance reached the people,” he said.
While the chief minister dodged the CMP demand, he thought fit to launch extravagant and unproductive schemes and freebies, such as the free TVs and gas stoves. “My argument is that the government should provide employment opportunities instead of serving out such freebies. If a TV set develops problems, will the government replace it? The poor must be shown ways of earning their livelihood, buy their own TV sets.” Reacting to the DMK objection that he could have sorted out any differences through talks or writing letters, Dr Ramadoss said issues concerning the public should be expressed openly so as to reach the people.
He had indeed handled certain matters deftly, such as the “undesirable happenings in our Raj Bhavan” about which he had written to the chief minister. Senior minister Arcot Veerasamy quickly acknowledged his missive telling him that Mr Karunanidhi was “well aware” of what was going on in the Raj Bhavan, said the PMK leader.