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    Cong gives guarded response to DMK's move

    New Delhi: The DMK's decision to pull out of the UPA Government appears to have come as a bolt from the blue for the Congress, which still feels all is not lost and negotiations could continue.

    Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi gave a guarded reaction on the development, keeping alive the hopes of a settlement on seat sharing even at this stage.

    "There is no need to comment on it now. This (has happened) in the middle of negotiations and unnecessary press comments will muddy the waters," was the refrain of Singhvi.

    Indicating that the party has been caught off-guard on the issue, a senior party functionary, who did not wish to be identified, said, "We are not going to react until the DMK officially communicates to us the decision."

    DMK is the first ally of the Congress led UPA to pull out of the ruling coalition at the Centre.

    With 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, it is the third largest constituent of the UPA after Congress and the Trinamool Congress.

    It has been with the UPA since 2004 after Congress and DMK buried the hatchet before the Lok Sabha elections.

    In an apparent act of brinkmanship, the DMK on Saturday decided to pull out of the Congress-led Government at the Centre after talks between the two parties on seat-sharing for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections failed.

    DMK President M Karunanidhi, who had last night accused the Congress of being unreasonable in its demand, charged the ally of trying to push it out of the UPA.

    The meeting of the party's high-powered committee presided over by him adopted a resolution to pull out of the government and to give issue-based support.

    Apparently referring to the Congress' demand of 63 seats of its choice after agreeing to 60, he said the Congress stand does not help for an amicable poll accord.

    He made it clear that while pulling out its six ministers from the Union Cabinet, the party would give issue-based support to the Manmohan Singh government.