As it happened: DMK withdraws from UPA, hands in resignations

10.31 pm: Have handed over resignations to President, says TR Baalu

"We are withdrawing support. We have handed over our resignations to President Pranab Mukherjee," TR Baalu tells CNN-IBN and says that he cannot comment on bringing a no confidence motion in Parliament against UPA.

"We will take further action action after we see the draft on resolution on Sri Lanka. We will discuss all options before us," said Baalu and added that the term 'genocide' has to be added to the draft resolution on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

10.24 pm: DMK leaders in Rashtrapati Bhavan to hand in resignations

DMK leaders, led by TR Baalu, have reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan to hand in their resignations.

They will be meeting Pranab Mukherjee shortly.

7.35 pm: Srilankan Airlines reduces flights to Chennai

Srilankan Airlines today slashed by half, its flights on the Colombo-Chennai sector in view of the attacks against Sri Lankan nationals in Tamil Nadu.

"Srilankan Airlines has observed a drop in traffic between Chennai and Colombo due to recent developments in Tamil Nadu, hence it was decided to reduce its frequency of flights to Chennai from 28 to 14 per week," a statement from the airline said today.

Revised schedule involves two daily flights in the morning and evening, the airline said.

Meanwhile, the ministry of external affairs said it had lodged "strong protests" with the Indian government on the incidents of assaults on Buddhists in Tamil Nadu.

Two Buddhist monks had come under attack in Thanjavur and Chennai yesterday.

The attacks came ahead of a crucial vote at the ongoing UNHRC session in Geneva where a US-backed resolution is expected to be adopted on Sri Lanka's accountability and reconciliation progress since the end of the three-decade long civil war in 2009.

PTI

7.00 pm: Early LS polls inevitable after DMK pulltout: Shiromani Akali Dal

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said early elections to the Lok Sabha were inevitable after the DMK withdrew its support to the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

The UPA government had been in the ICU after the DMK's exit, SAD chief and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said at a function in Ludhiana.

"With the DMK withdrawing support to the UPA and Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party breathing down its neck, early polls to the Lok Sabha are inevitable," he said.

"The government is in ICU and day-to-day supply of oxygen cylinders cannot keep this brain dead government alive for long," Badal said, according to an official release here.

"SAD and its alliance partner BJP are fully prepared for early Lok Sabha elections and have started the exercise of energising their cadres for the coming electoral challenge," he said.

The DMK today withdrew its support to the UPA government and pulled out its five ministers over the issue of alleged human rights violations of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

PTI

6.18 pm: DMK insists that it is 'not just posturing' but says toppling UPA is not its intention

DMK MP Selvaganapathy has insisted that his party decision to pull out of the UPA was "not just posturing", saying that they decided to pull out of the government because it had betrayed the feelings of the Tamils.

However Selvaganapathy said that it was not the intention of the DMK to topple the Indian government over the issue. But he said that they now expected the government to act proactively on the DMK demands.

The DMK wants a stronger UN resolution on Sri Lanka, and are demanding that the terms 'genocide', 'war crimes' are included, as well as a provision for an international probe. They also want a resolution condemning Sri Lankan genocide passed in Parliament. Reports indicate that they are not willing to compromise on these issues at all.

"We have given a long rope to this government", he said.

6.10 pm: Karunanidhi only pulled out of UPA because he wants to be known as 'champion of Tamils', says Cho Ramaswamy

Cho Ramaswamy has said that Karunanidhi's decision to pull out of the UPA alliance was all about political compulsions, because the label of "Champion of the Tamils" was slipping from under his feet. "Jayalithaa has stolen it from him and he wantd it back. This decision has nothing to do with the UPA, nothing to do with the UNHCR, nothing to do with Eelam and nothing to do with Sri Lanka", he said, in a discussion on CNN-IBN.

Ramaswamy added that the valorisation of the LTTE was counter productive, saying it would be good to remember that the LTTE was also a perpetrator of Tamil suffering in Sri Lanka.

6.04 pm: Tamil Nadu protests against Sri Lanka intensify

A section of the Tamil cinema industry have also joined the continuing state-wide protests against Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu Film Directors' Association members led by M Ameer staged a day-long hunger strike in which top filmmakers including Shankar, AR Murugadoss and Balaji Shaktivel participated.

Their demands included implementing a Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution seeking economic sanctions against Colombo till Tamils are ensured status on par with the majority Sinhalese and conducting a referendum among the Sri Lankan Tamils for a separate Tamil Ealam (homeland).

Student protests entered an eighth day in various parts of the state including Chennai, with the participants resorting to various forms of protests including forming a human chain, police said.

5.09 pm: Even Sri Sri Ravisankar is not convinced by the DMK!

The DMk's dramatic press conference, signaling its intention of pulling out of the UPA, has frankly impressed no one. Subramanian Swamy said that it was a case of the DMK 'trying to play catch up to Jayalalithaa' and predicted that the party would go crawling back to the UPA in a month.

The same sentiments were echoed by the Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav who pointed out that the party had not even given a letter of resignation to the President. And political pundits and media analysts are all saying that this is just a ploy on the part of Karunanidhi to win some votes in Tamil Nadu.

And now Sri Sri Ravisankar has also joined the brigade of DMK critics with two tweets, slamming the intentions of the party and saying that Karunanidhi's move was prompted by self interest and not love for the Sri Lankan Tamils.

They have been reproduced below:

"Tamils in India &SriLanka are intelligent enough to see thru this drama of convenience of the #DMK pulling out& they won't buy into this(1/2)"

"#DMK could have done a lot for the Sri Lankan Tamils if they were sincere. They cannot wash their hands off and shed crocodile tears"

4.36 pm: DMK stands firm, wants 'genocide', 'war crimes' included in resolution

CNN-IBN reports that the DMK is standing firm and refusing to come down from its stance that it wants the terms 'genocide' and 'war crimes' included in a UN resolution on Sri Lanka. The party is also insisting that an international probe be conducted into Sri Lankan events.

The DMK stance is putting the centre into a huge bind. Analysts say that if the government does bow down to what the DMK wants, it will end up creating a precedent where strategic foreign policy decisions will be held hostage to domestic political compulsions.

"Karunanidhi believes this is the best way for him to create an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu and this is his way of playing catch up to Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu and try to get votes ahead of elections", said Bhupendra Chaubey of CNN-IBN.

4.04 pm: Sri Lanka issue will not impact IPL, says Rajiv Shukla

Amid concerns that the volatile situation in Tamil Nadu would impact the participation of Sri Lankan players like Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara in the IPL, Chairman Rajiv Shukla said that they did not forsee any issue.

"The Sri Lankan players will arrive as scheduled. We don't forsee any problem because there is no Sri Lanka team, just individual players", he told media in New Delhi. Shukla added that if there were an issue, they would cross that bridge when they came to it.

3.17 pm: Government to move amendment to UNHCR resolution?

CNN-IBN is reporting that the government is willing to move a stringent resolution on Sri Lanka, but will only do so if there is consensus among all parties. The news channel quoted sources as saying that the government was also mulling an amendment to the UNHRC resolution that has been significantly watered down from its original version. To see the two versions of the bill, click here.

2.00 pm: Lok Sabha resumes, Kamal Nath says govt is open to discussion

Lok Sabha has resumed and the anti-rape bill is being tabled in the house. However before the debate began, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath made a statement in the house, saying that the UPA was willing to hold a discussion on a resolution on Sri Lanka at any time.

" I just talked to the foreign minister... there is no need for India to take a position in the UN till the day of the voting... we are having discussions", he said.

Sushilkumar Shinde is now presenting the bill. Live updates on that here.

1.32 pm: Mayawati says she will back the UPA

BSP leader Mayawati has stressed that her party will support the UPA government in Parliament. Speaking to reporters outside Parliament she said, "The UPA government is not in a minority, we will support it". Her comments come even as Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party added that SP support for the UPA would also continue.

The BSP has 21 seats in Parliament, while the Samajwadi Party has 22 seats. The UPA has 277 seats with outside support from SP and BSP, which is 7 seats over the halfway mark.

Meanwhile Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath said consultations are on to decide the government's next step in connection to the demands of the DMK. The DMK wants a resolution condemning the ‘genocide’ of Sri Lankan Tamils adopted in Parliament, saying that the new 'watered down' resolution put forward by the US had failed to meet the aspirations of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and India.

Karunanidhi said India should strongly urge the establishment of a credible and independent international commission of investigation into the allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law and genocide against the Tamil people.

1.19 pm: Government to call all-party meet to discuss UN resolution?

The Government is likely to call an all-party meet to decide what to do next with regards to the UN resolution on Sri Lanka, reported CNN-IBN quoting sources. Meanwhile the DMK has also called for an emergency executive meet on 25 March to discuss its next step.

1.01 pm: Quick poll gauge:

12.54 pm: SP dismisses DMK 'threat', says it will continue to support UPA

The Samajwadi Party has said it will continue supporting the UPA and dismissed DMK chief Karunanidhi's announcement that the DMK was pulling out of the alliance, as a mere threat. "The DMK has not given any letter to the President. This is all just a show" said senior SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav to media.

12.42 pm: Government is over for all practical and technical reasons, says BJP

BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that the DMK action to pull out of the UPA clearly indicated that the government was now a 'lame duck' one which was now relying on the support of two contrarian parties.

"For all practical and technical reasons the government is now over", he added.

Meanwhile the BJP is reportedly not in favour of any country specific resolutions on Sri Lanka, and are not comfortable with the use of the term "Genocide" in any Parliamentary resolution, reported Times Now.

12.36 pm: Too premature to say anything over government, says Congress

Congress Minister Renuka Chowdhry has said that the Congress was still talking and negotiating with the DMK and that it was too premature to make any statement on Parliament. "We are never happy to lose allies. It is too premature to say anything right now. Discussions are on. Let us see how we get our allies together in the service of the nation", she said.

Meanwhile the DMK's five members of the council of Ministers are scheduled to hand over their resignations this evening. The five are:

M K ALAGIRI, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers
S S PALANIMANICKAM, MOS in the Ministry of Finance
D NAPOLEON, MOS in Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
S JAGATHRAKSHAKAN, MOS in Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
S GANDHISELVAN, MOS in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

12.20 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2pm

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha tried to make a statement but was shouted down in the Lok Sabha. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath also stood up and said that the government was willing to have a discussion on Sri Lanka at any time, but the uproar did not die down. Amid the chaos, speaker Miera Kumar adjourned the house till 2pm.

12.18 pm: Why is India a silent spectator to Sri Lankan atrocities, asks DMK in Lok Sabha

DMK MP TKS Elangovan has slammed the UPA, making an impassioned speech on Sri Lanka and the Indian government's failure to intervene and prevent  human rights violations from taking place there. "Tamil Nadu is burning, Students are on the streets. We were expecting a strong resolution but the US resolution has failed to fulfill the aspirations of Tamils in Sri Lanka and India", he said.

Hitting out at the UPA for what he called 'inaction', Elangovan said, "What happened to all the assurances given to us by Sri Lanka? What are you waiting for? Why are you allowing Human Rights violations and genocide to continue there? Why is India a silent spectator?"

12. 16 pm: Update - We are always ready for elections, says BJP

12.08 pm: Praful Patel warns against 'jumping the gun'

Minsiter of heavy industries Praful Patel has warned against 'jumping the gun' over the DMK decision to pull out of the government. "I don't think there is any desire on the part of the DMK to destabilise the government. As far as I have been informed, the DMK has said it will reconsider its stance if a resolution is brought before Parliament. So we should wait and see", he added.

Meanwhile in Parliament, the anti-rape law has been tabled by the Home Minister. Live updates on that here

And from Twitter:

12.01 pm: DMK disrupting both houses of Parliament

The Lok Sabha has resumed after an early adjournment when the DMK disrupted question hour, but it does not look as though they will allow Parliament to function at all. The DMK is still chanting slogans in the well of both houses and MPs are struggling to make themselves heard over the din. An early adjournment looks highly likely.

11.48 am: Have taken note of DMK decision but govt is stable, says Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram has said that the UPA has "taken note" of the DMK decision to leave the alliance, but said that the government was still stable and enjoyed a majority in the Lok Sabha. "Let me assure everyone that the government is absolutely stable and enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha", he said in a brief press meet in Delhi, minutes after DMK Chief Karunanidhi announced that he would withdraw support.

"The DMK leader has said he will review ohis decision if we pass a resolution in the house. We have taken note of that also. However at this point, the government is stable, the government will continue, and the government has a majority in the house", he added.

Chidambaram also said that his meeting with the DMK chief on Monday evening had come away with certain requests for the Prime Minister and Congress President from Karunanidhi and that those requests are under consideration.

He said that the government was in the process of of examining the final draft of the US resolution that had come to the government last night and would take a decision on how to vote after that examination was over. "As for the resolution condemning genocide in Sri Lanka in Parliament, we have begun consulting all parties", he added.

11.40 am: Markets down by 300 points after DMK decision to pull out of UPA

Indian markets plunged into red immediately after the DMK decided to pull out of the UPA government since it implies an unstable government without the support of DMK.

While the Sensex plunged 312 points, the Nifty was down 97 points at 5790.

Bajaj Auto, Gail India, Sun Pharma, Wipro, ITC are among the gainers in Sensex and Nifty.

ONGC, SBI, BHEL,Coal India, Dr Reddys Lab, TCS, L&T, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Bank, ONGC, Tata Power are among the top losers.

The DMK has 18 seats in the Lok Sabha and is the second ally to pull out after Mamata Banerjee's TMC.

The decision is however sparking massive celebrations among DMK cadres who are bursting crackers and celebrating outside Karunanidhi's Chennai residence.

11.36 am: Subramanian Swamy dismisses DMK move as 'drama'

Janta Party leader Subramanian Swamy has dismissed the DMK's shock decision to pull out of the UPA alliance as mere 'posturing' and said he was not surprised by the move at all. "After one month or one week they will come back. I think Karunanidhi is scared of Jayalalithaa and he is scared of being left behind", he told CNN-IBN.

Swamy added that in his opinion the resolution was a good one and India needed to support it.

11.24 am: What does the DMK pullout mean for the UPA?

With the pullout of the 18 DMK MPs in the Lok Sabha, the strength of the UPA government declines from 295 to 277 in the upper house of Parliament. The DMK has also ruled out any question of outside support but said it may consider changing its stand based on the government's stand.

The UPA though has letters of outside support from the Samajwadi Party as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party which have 22 and 21 MPs respectively.

Here are the numbers as they stand right now:

Total strength of House -- 540

Halfway mark -- 270

UPA with DMK -- 295

Without DMK -- 234

With outside support from SP and BSP: 277

The DMK pullout officially means that the UPA is now a minority government.

11.12 am: DMK pulls out of UPA government, no outside support

DMK Chief Karunanidhi has just announced that the DMK will pull out of the UPA government over their stance on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. The  party will not offer outside support, and Karunanidhi has already set a list of demands on the already beleaguered UPA government that include passing a Parliamentary resolution on the genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils and having India intervene to make the US resolution against Sri Lanka more tightly worded.

"If the parliament passes a resolution ahead of the vote, we might change our stance", he said addressing a media conference in Chennai.

"DMK continuing to support the Central government under these circumstances is impossible. Even if the LTTE is vanquished our support for the fight of Tamil freedom and human rights is not over", he added.

The DMK has 18 members in the Lok Sabha and five members in the council of Ministers.

11.03 am: DMK to hold press meet, will they pull out of the UPA?

The DMK is about to hold a press meet in Chennai with DMK supremo Karunanidhi set to address the media. There is speculation that he will pull out of the UPA government. DMK MPs in Delhi have been tight lipped, saying that UPA actions in Parliament would decide their future course of action.

10.35 am: PM convenes emergency meeting to discuss DMK crisis

Reports just coming in state that the Prime Minister is having an emergency meet to discuss the DMK crisis that has sprung up over human rights issues in Sri Lanka. Manmohan Singh will meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister AK Antony who will brief him on the results of a meeting they held with DMK supremo Karunanidhi in Chennai yesterday.

DMK Supremo Karunanidhi has refused to back down from his hardline stance against Sri Lanka, and has said that he wants a resolution condemning the ‘genocide’ of Tamil people in the final stages of the war adopted in Parliament.

Firstpost

Firstpost

The DMK has also called for an emergency meeting in Parliament, demanding the passage of a stronger UN resolution in Sri Lanka.

"India should intervene and see that the resolution is strengthened. We have come to understand that the resolution has been diluted and so is now irrelevant. We want the government of India to intervene and see that Tamils are protected in the island. It is the duty of India", said a DMK spokesman outside Parliament.

Latest media reports indicate that the US has turned up a significantly watered down second draft of the UN resolution against Sri Lanka. The Times Now channel reported that the new resolution asks for an independent investigation instead of an international inquiry into alleged war crimes and continuing human rights abuses.

10.00 am: DMK gives notice for suspension of question hour in Lok Sabha

The DMK has given notice for the suspension of question hour as they want the issue of Sri Lankan war crimes discussed in the Lok Sabha. The notice comes even as DMK Supremo Karunanidhi refused to back down from his hardline stance against Sri Lanka, saying that he wanted a resolution condemning the ‘genocide’ of Sri Lankan Tamils adopted in Parliament.

The comments came after a crucial meeting between the DMK chief and three union ministers on the stand to be taken by India over the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka ended with no major decision being taken. Meanwhile Congress President Sonia Gandhi made a statement saying that the Congress was 'for the upholding of human rights in Sri Lanka' which is being seen as a message to the DMK that the Congress will stand by them and vote for the resolution.

Karunanidhi said India should strongly urge the establishment of a credible and independent international commission of investigation into the allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law and genocide against the Tamil people.

The DMK has five members in the prime minister’s council of ministers and 18 members in the Lok Sabha.