Chennai: The DMK, a strong opponent of the Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed National Register of Citizens, on Monday stayed away from an all-party meeting called by its ally Congress in New Delhi to evolve a strategy against the citizenship legislation.
What triggered the boycott is a joint statement issued by the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president KS Alagiri and Congress Legislature Party leader KR Ramasamy late last week accusing the DMK of not adhering to “coalition dharma” in sharing of seats for panchayat union and district panchayat chairman elections in rural local bodies, indirect elections for which were held in 26 districts on Saturday.
The state Congress leaders were upset that the DMK denied them any nomination to the post of district panchayat chairman and offered just one chairman post in panchayat unions.
Confirming this, a senior DMK leader, who has had a long stint in Parliament, said, “We decided to skip the meeting because we were hurt by the statement issued by the TNCC leaders.
If they had any issue with the seat sharing, they should have met our party president (M K Stalin) and sorted it out.
But they chose to go public about it. We conveyed to the Congress high command in Delhi that we were upset and will not attend the anti-CAA strategy meeting.” However, he added, “But the DMK will continue to stand by the minorities on the citizenship issue.”
Asked why a statement by the State leaders should strain national-level relations with the Congress under strain, he said, “You know that the Congress is hardly a force in Tamil Nadu.
Yet, the DMK carried it on its shoulders and sent nine Congress candidates to the Lok Sabha last year. If not for us, the Congress national tally would have been poorer than what it scored in 2014. Still they have been ungrateful to us.”