Wednesday, July 30, 2008

DMK vs Sethu politics: A divide Cong finds tough to bridge

CNN IBN, New Delhi: It's a divide which the Government is finding difficult to bridge. The DMK is breathing down its neck to fast forward the Sethusamundram project, but the Congress knows that a green signal to the project could mean a difficult political road ahead.

For now, however, it has found a way out. The Government is buying time by setting up a six-member commiittee headed by environmentalist, RK Pachauri to find an alternative alignment as suggested by the Supreme Court.

The committee cannot begin functioning anytime soon and the earliest that it can begin work is in December.

This doesn't suit the DMK, whose chief, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has been repeatedly applying pressure on the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to find a way out.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has put the Sethusamundram project on hold till the committee submits its report - this after a PIL was submitted raising objections to the alignments at which the work was going on.

In an election year, the Congress is not keen to take any chances. A proposal gven by the Culture Ministry to allow Archaeological Survey of India to survey the disputed area before work begins has been shot down by the Shipping Ministry, with Shipping Minister TR Baalu saying that there is no need for such a survey.

With the NDA accusing the Congress of violating people's faith and the party aware that this could snowball into a controversy in an election year, the Congress is taking pains to make its stand clear.

Congress Spokesperson, Manish Tiwary even stated, "We believe and respect all religions and faiths", to make it clear that the Congress was not partaking in any discrimintation.

The Congress is trying to swim in troubled waters, but is seeing no shore in sight. In this clash between its own interest and DMK pressure, which way will the Government go is something that remains to be seen.

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