Karunanidhi rolls back threat to quit UPA

Karunanidhi rolls back threat to quit UPA

The DMK has demanded that the Centre  should  slash petrol price and also the state government cut taxes so that people do not suffer. Karunanidhi toned down his anger after hearing that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is looking into the matter.

Earlier in the day,  at a protest rally near the Chepauk cricket stadium here  Karunanidhi warned the UPA “not to give room to a situation” wherein the DMK may be constrained to “leave” the coalition.

The rally was part of the statewide protest against the Centre for petrol price hike and the state government for increasing tariffs.

Referring to his party’s past alliances with the BJP-led NDA and National Front government led by V P Singh, Karunanidhi said, “though we were in coalition, we always opposed when things got too bad to the point of sullying or eroding our basic principles.”

Under those circumstances, “we sailed with the coalition to the extent we could and then parted ways only to uphold our basic, pro-people policies,” Karunanidhi said.

 DMK’s protests rallies in other parts of the state were lead by senior party leaders such as  Prof K Anbazhagan in North Chennai and M K Stalin in Tiruvannamalai.

Karunanidhi also lashed out at the anti-people policies of the Jayalalithaa regime which had hiked the prices of milk, bus fares and electricity tariffs. “Both the Centre and the state government are competing “in hiking prices of goods and services that hit the common man most”, he lamented.

After an hour later at party headquarters, Karunanidhi  clarified to reporters that he was misquoted as he had only referred to DMK’s actions in the past as a constituent of various coalition governments at the Centre.

Apparently, Karunanidhi was soft-pedalling the issue after DMK’s parliamentary party  leader T R Baalu got in touch with him over phone and explained that the Prime Minister was looking into the petrol price hike issue.

“You have drawn mischievous inferences from my speech,” Karunanidhi told reporters.

HC questions ministry on petro price hike

The Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, asked the ministry of petroleum and finance at the Centre, to explain “legality of the recent petro price hike”, by June 20, reports DHNS from Mumbai.

The directive comes in the wake of a PIL admitted in the court casting aspersion on the “decision taken by the Centre to jack up the price of petrol as unconstitutional as it did not have Parliament’s approval.”

The PIL filed by one Rajendra Phanse running an organisation called “Dharrmarajya Paksha”, contends that the decision to raise the petrol price by the Centre was “ultra vires,” as Parliament's approval was not taken before announcing it.

Elaborating on his basic premise, the petitioner states that on May 23, soon after the conclusion of the Budget Session of Parliament, at the stroke of midnight, the price of petrol was “abruptly”, hiked by Rs 7.50.

Citing earlier instances like the hike in postal rates or telephone services, the petition pointed out that all such decisions were taken during the session; however the recent decision was not only carried out in an “undemocratic manner” but haphazardly as the prices are not uniform across the nation.

This non-uniformity of price rise across the nation, “is a geographical discrimination...contravening Article 14 of the Constitution.”

The division bench comprising justices R Y Ganoo and N M Jamdar, has also asked other respondents in the PIL comprising oil marketing companies-Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd- to file an affidavit delineating the reasons and position on the petro-price hike.

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