In a dramatic turn, amid the buzz over new electoral alliances for the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition AIADMK leader in Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa on Thursday sent out an open feeler to the Congress, by urging it to sever its ties with the DMK in the interests of its own (Congress) political future in Tamil Nadu.
Likening the DMK regime in the state to a person “mired in quick sand” amid mounting charges of corruption and lawlessness against it, Jayalalithaa, said if the Congress, which has been supporting the DMK in the state for the past 33 months, continued to extend a helping hand to the Karunanidhi government, “it too will go under”.
Asserting that the people’s mood was one of “total anger and resentment” against the DMK’s misrule in the state and the “Himalayan corruption” in some of the central ministries headed by DMK nominees, Jayalalithaa charged that the DMK had been “emboldened” to do anything-, including winning the recent assembly by-election from Thirumangalam with “money and muscle power”-, only because the Congress backed it.
The DMK with 96 MLAs’ in the state needs the support of 35 Congress MLAs’ to run the government in the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, it may be recalled. Jayalalithaa had recently firmed up an electoral alliance with the CPI and CPI(M), but after the by-poll defeat, feels the need to expand her alliance. The CPI leader, AB Bardhan, who met her recently, had also urged her to include more allies in her front.
Recalling the AIADMK’s and her own personal “cordial relations” with the Congress and its leaders including Rajiv Gandhi in the past, “for whom I have great respect and had good friendship,” Jayalalithaa said, “I consider Indira Gandhi as my mother.”
It was on that footing that this advice to the Congress to snap ties with the DMK was proffered, she noted. ‘Amma’ spoke at a function in Chennai to solemnise weddings of 61 couples to mark her 61st birthday falling on Feb 24, though she has cancelled all celebrations that day, in the wake of the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
“Take back your hand (off DMK),” Jayalalithaa extolled to the Congress, punning on the word ‘hand’, also the latter’s poll symbol. Emphasising that a huge anti-incumbency factor stared at the DMK, Jayalalithaa claimed that the people were waiting to “teach the DMK a fitting lesson” in the coming polls. Hence, if Congress wished to avoid that scenario, “it should at once sever ties with DMK,” she asserted.
Jayalalithaa also urged that the Congress should drop the DMK ministers from the Union Cabinet – in the wake of the Spectrum allocation scandal-, institute a probe against the irregularities, and “dismiss” the DMK government in Tamil Nadu.
CONG – PMK, MDMK members clash over Pranab’s remarks
Meanwhile, in the state assembly on Thursday, the PMK, MDMK and CPI group of MLAs’ clashed with the Congress members, over the Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee’s statement in Parliament on the ceasefire issue in Sri Lanka, sparking a furore in the House for ten minutes.
When T Velmurugan (PMK) raised the issue, stating that another youth in Tamil Nadu, Tamizhvendhan, of Cuddalore district who committed self-immolation died this morning, taking the number of such deaths to five so far to “save” the Tamils in Sri Lanka, he was cut short by the Speaker, R Avudaiyappan. The PMK MLAs’ walked out in protest.
Shortly later, the MDMK and CPI floor leaders, M Kannappan and Sivapunniyam, who also tried to raise the issue, were evicted from the House.