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Hope DMK will see reason and come back: PM

Source: PTI
May 22, 2009 21:04 IST
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Reaching out to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which is sulking over allocation of portfolios, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hoped that the Tamil Nadu ally will "see reason" and reconsider its decision of not joining the government in the next few days by accepting the "reasonable" offer.

"We hope they will see reason," Dr Singh told media persons after being sworn-in at the Rashtrapati Bhavan when asked whether there was any hitch in DMK joining the government.

"Whatever UPA offered (to DMK) is reasonable. They (DMK) are our respected colleagues. We still hope in the next few days they will reconsider their decision," he said.

DMK on Friday decided not to join the government, saying the Congress' formula on allocation of ministerial berths was not acceptable to it.

Asked how long it would take, Singh said "I keep hoping that without any loss of time, they (DMK) will come back after discussing" the issue in its working committee.

When queried whether there was any controversy about inclusion of DMK leader T R Baalu in the Cabinet, the Prime Minister replied in the negative and said "they are our honoured colleagues. There is no question about having any reservation".

DMK, a key pre-poll ally of the Congress, decided to stay out of the government after their talks on allocation of portfolios got deadlocked.

Congress sources said DMK was seeking nine ministerial berths -- five Cabinet and four Ministers of State, which was not acceptable to Congress which was ready to give seven berths -- three Cabinet and four Ministers of State.

There are also reports that DMK wanted Cabinet berths for Karunanidhi's son M K Azhagiri, daughter Kanimozhi and grand nephew Dayanadhi Maran besides T R Baalu and A Raja apart from ministers of state berths for some others.

Congress sources said the party was ready to have status quo in terms of DMK's representation in the Council of Ministers even though the Tamil Nadu party had lesser number of seats this time.

Congress maintains that it is not possible to give more than seven berths to DMK.

DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunandhi, who was camping in New Delhi, returned to Chennai earlier on Friday, saying DMK's executive council will discuss and decide on the formula presented by Congress on ministerial allocation.

There was speculation that Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress general secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu, would travel to Chennai on Saturday to talk to Karunanidhi, which was rubbished by the senior Congress leader.

He, however, noted that he had held discussions with DMK leaders to resolve the matter.

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