CHENNAI, March 5 (IANS) With only a month to go for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, the ruling DMK Saturday said it was ending its seven-year alliance with the Congress and asked its ministers to quit the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The dramatic decision was taken at a DMK leadership meeting chaired by party leader and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and attended by almost all senior leaders including Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin.
A resolution passed at the meeting said the DMK would henceforth provide only "issue-based support" to the Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The stated reason for the split followed the Congress' insistence on contesting from 63 of the 234 Tamil Nadu seats - a demand Karunanidhi publicly described as "unjustified".
According to DMK leaders, whenever Congress demands were met during seat-sharing discussions, the latter would come up with new ones.
DMK's senior leader and former central minister TR Baalu told reporters that the decision had been conveyed to Congress leaders such as Ahmed Patel in New Delhi.
He added that DMK ministers would go to New Delhi to submit their resignations.
A DMK statement said the Congress demand for 63 seats even after the DMK expressed its readiness to concede 60 showed it was not keen on having it as an ally.
"Hence we have decided to pull out," the statement said.
There was no immediate reaction from the Congress, which had provided legislative support to the DMK since the latter took power in the state in 2006.
The Congress, which also gets DMK support in neighbouring Puducherry where it rules, is now left with no major ally in Tamil Nadu.
DMK's Baalu denied that the party decision was linked to the raging spectrum scam, which has led to the resignation and arrest of DMK's former communications minister A. Raja.