Bowing to prevailing sentiment, AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa made a distinct shift in her political position on Monday, as she launched a day-long fast to express solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils.
Jayalalitha, who has been fiercely critical of the LTTE in the past, for the first time endorsed its demand for Tamil self-determination in Sri Lanka even as she criticised it for the ‘brutal assassination’ of Rajiv Gandhi.
“We recognise the Tamil struggle for an autonomous state within a federal constitutional set-up in Sri Lanka,” she said.
The shift was also intended to strengthen her recent tie-up with inveterate LTTE supporter V. Gopalaswamy ‘Vaiko’, who is now part of her alliance, but whom she had jailed for his pro-LTTE utterances when she was chief minister.
It was also aimed at wooing the PMK, another staunch backer of the Lankan Tamil cause, but currently part of the DMK-Congress alliance.
Flanked by Vaiko and leaders of the CPI and CPM, with thousands of her own supporters milling around, Jayalalitha provided high drama as she launched the fast outside the Chepauk stadium, with a blistering attack CM Karunanidhi and the DMK.
“The UPA regime and its important constituent the DMK, have no genuine concern for the sufferings of the Sri Lankan Tamils,” she thundered.