Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa launched a scathing attack on arch rival DMK on Thursday saying there was a “confusion” as to who is the party chief -- M Karunanidhi or M K Stalin.
Speaking in the assembly, she said, “To give a reply here, there is a confusion on who their leader is, who is their chief? Is it Karunanidhi, who is referred to as party president or is it the leader of Opposition (Stalin), who is sitting here?”
Jayalalithaa’s remarks came as she was speaking on the ceding of Katchatheevu islet while referring to a statement of Karunanidhi which he had made a day after her speech on June 20 on the same matter.
Underlining that her question was for Karunanidhi, she said, “either DMK members, if they could, answer her or bring their chief to the House” and added that “there is confusion on who their leader is.”
She said, “As a member of the House, he (Karunanidhi) could have expressed his opinion in the House. However, he is issuing a statement without coming to the Assembly. My talk is only related to his statement.”
Soon DMK members were on their feet demanding that speaker P Dhanapal offer them an opportunity to respond to the AIADMK supremo’s remarks.
Amid noisy scenes, Jayalalithaa said she would wind up her reply to the motion of thanks to governor’s address soon and added that others may speak after.
However, DMK members, led by Stalin, staged a walkout, claiming outside the House that they did not get an opportunity to voice their views.
Jayalalithaa claimed that the DMK members walked out after she said that she wanted to pose questions on Katchatheevu as they knew that they would not be able to answer.
Citing Karunanidhi’s statement, she said, “Since he has said that (former prime minister) Indira Gandhi pacified (Karunanidhi) giving many rights (for fishermen), does it not mean that he agreed to giving Katchatheevu away?”
“Why did not the Tamil Nadu government file any case then (when the islet was ceded) when the then Jan Sangh leader A B Vajpayee had said that he would file a case,” she asked.
Reasserting that she had filed a case in 2008 in the Supreme Court on Katchatheevu and that the Tamil Nadu government impleaded in it in 2011 after she became chief minister, Jayalalithaa asked if DMK’s case on the islet in the apex court in 2013 was not for political reasons and in view of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
“In the case filed by me against ceding Katchatheevu, why did not the then DMK government file a counter in the court, stating that ceding the islet was wrong?,” she asked.
She said, “If it was not against truth to say that the right to fish and dry nets was incorporated in the 1974 agreement with Sri Lanka (to cede Katchatheevu) due to DMK’s push when there was no such clauses in the pact.”
“Will DMK president Karunanidhi answer my questions,?”she asked.
Jayalalithaa also took a jibe at the main opposition party when there was some confusion among two MLAs on who would speak on the debate on certain bills that came up for discussion, saying this showed there was “factionalism” in the party.
“I have heard of factionalism in the Opposition (DMK), but witnessed it today,” she said.
She said while DMK whip R Sakkarapani had asked Tambaram MLA S R Raja to speak, Tiruvannamalai legislator and former minister E V Velu was already speaking and took a swipe at this.
To this, deputy Leader of DMK Legislature, Durai Murugan alleged that the CM was cleverly trying to ‘divert’ attention from the issues being discussed and insisted that there was “no factionalism” in his party.
“We are one,” he said.