Lankan Tamils issue dominates as AIADMK-left launch poll campaign
Unreservedly projecting the tragic plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils as "the foremost issue" in the May 13 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, the opposition AIADMK-Left parties alliance kick-started their joint campaign slamming the "callous indifference" of the Congress-DMK inclusive UPA on this issue. MR Venkatesh reports.india Updated: Apr 16, 2009 22:18 IST
Unreservedly projecting the tragic plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils as "the foremost issue" in the May 13 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu, the opposition AIADMK-Left parties alliance kick-started their joint campaign slamming the "callous indifference" of the Congress-DMK inclusive UPA on this issue.
At a massive rally here this evening led by the AIADMK leader, Ms.J. Jayalalithaa, from a magnificient dias resembling Parliament House in Delhi to symbolise the "crucial regime change role" her five-party alliance was likely to play in Delhi, all her allies rooted for a "non-Congress/non-BJP dispensation" that will accord top priority to "ensuring ceasefire and save the Tamils" in Sri Lanka.
Squarely blaming the UPA Government for "derliction of its duty" in not taking up the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and finding a "just solution to the Tamils problem" there, either with the Island regime or with the UN, the CPI(M) General Secretary, Mr. Prakash Karat charged that the Centre had failed on all fronts.
Had the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh spent even one-tenth of the time he spent in building a "strategic alliance" with the USA in the last three years, to redress the "life and death situation" facing the Sri Lankan Tamils, the situation would have been very different, Karat said, adding, "our foreign policy had got totally derailed."
Indicting the Congress-DMK's performance, particularly in the Defence and Telecom Ministries, Mr. Karat charged that a major Defence scam has now surfaced following the UPA Government signing an arms deal with a tainted Israeli company just two days before the Lok Sabha polls was announced.
Stating that the Centre paid no heed to the warnings of the Left parties about this Israeli company, already charged with corruption, Mr. Karat said the UPA went ahead to sign a Rs.10,000 Crores arms contract.
"Now it has come out that six per cent commission has been paid," Mr. Karat alleged, adding, the kick-backs of Rs. 600 Crores in this scam was ten times more than what was alleged in the Bofors gun deal during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure. In the Telecom
Ministry headed by the DMK's Minister, Mr. A. Raja, the 'spectrum scam' involved a staggering Rs. One lakh Crores to the exchequer, the CPI(M) leader said.
But in neither case the Government thought it necessary to order a probe, Mr. Karat said, adding, the Lok Sabha poll verdict in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, where 40 seats are at stake, "will change the political destiny of India."
The "victory for the AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu will pave the way for a historic change in Delhi", in ushering a new alternative secular Government, the Marxist leader hoped.
Accusing the Congress with being "silent" on the happenings in the Island amid the continuing killings of the Tamils under the Rajapakshe regime there, the CPI's General Secretary, Mr. A. B. Bardhan, said the M.Karunanidhi-headed DMK was "virtually paralyzed" on the laps of the Congress vis-avis the Tamils issue.
It was at that critical juncture, a fast undertaken by Ms. Jayalalithaa to express solidarity with the suffering Tamils that made it "an issue for the whole country." Further, the murder of democracy in Tamil Nadu under the DMK was there for everyone to see with the "most brazen murder of democracy" seen during the Thirumangalam by-election near Madurai early this year by the "worst mafia regime," Bardhan said. The "wrong economic policies" pursued by the UPA of which the DMK has been a part has worsened the commoners' plight, he said.
The MDMK leader, Vaiko charged the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Congress with being "primarily responsible" for the continued killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka with India not even asking for a ceasefire so far. The DMK had sailed along in this policy, Vaiko said and only a "crushing defeat" to this combine would ensure that a Tamils-unfriendly Government will not be back in Delhi, he said.
The PMK's founder-leader, Dr. S. Ramadoss, bemoand that neither the Centre nor the DMK Government in the State had anything to write home about in helping to resolve the Island Tamils crisis. "Why this conspiracy of silence by the UPA on Sri Lanka?," posed the CPI's National Secretary, Mr. D. Raja and charged that the Congress "has given up on the Sri Lankan Tamils".
Winding up the rally after releasing the AIADMK's poll manifesto, Ms. Jayalalithaaalso slammed the DMK and Congress for doing nothing to ameliorate the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.