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Ask me if you need my support, says Jayalalithaa

Hinting that she is in no hurry to make up with the Congress, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today said those seeking her support will have to approach her.

delhi Updated: Jun 14, 2011 16:33 IST

Hinting that she is in no hurry to make up with the Congress, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said those seeking her support will have to approach her.

"If anyone wants my support, they have to ask. You cannot ask on their behalf," the AIADMK leader told a reporter here, on her first visit to the capital after capturing power in Tamil Nadu last month.

She said when she invited the Congress to join hands with her before the elections in May, "the situation was entirely different".

She pointed out that the Congress party had since made it very clear that it continued to have an alliance with the DMK, and both parties were part of the coalition governing India. DMK is an archrival of her AIADMK.

"So my question of offering support (to the Congress-led government) simply does not arise," she said.

Jayalalithaa also said it would not be appropriate for her to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi as she headed a party that had an alliance with the DMK.

After the electoral verdict in Tamil Nadu, Sonia Gandhi had invited Jayalalithaa for tea, triggering speculation that the Congress may be planning to dump the DMK and embrace the AIADMK.

Sri Lankan Tamils must live dignified lives: Jayalalithaa

Tamils in Sri Lanka should be allowed to lead dignified lives and enjoy the same status as the majority Sinhalese community, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said on Tuesday.

The AIADMK leader also told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that she was opposed to the Indian government's 1974 decision to cede to Sri Lanka the Katchatheevu island, located in the sea dividing the two countries.

In her first visit to the capital after the AIADMK stormed to power last month, she said she discussed at length the situation in Sri Lanka with Manmohan Singh and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

"I have stressed that what the Sri Lankan Tamils want and what we Tamilians want is to see that the Sri Lankan Tamils who are still in camps are allowed to return where they lived earlier.

"And they are allowed to lead lives of dignity with equal rights on par with the Sinhalese."

Jayalalithaa said she had gone to the Supreme Court challenging the Indian decision to cede Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka without the concurrence of the Indian parliament.

She said she told the prime minister that Tamil Nadu fishermen who sailed to the island were harassed and tortured by Sri Lankan security forces.

"The PM said he has impressed upon Sri Lanka that such ill treatment should stop. And all efforts will be allowed to see that our fishermen are allowed to fish around Katchatheevu."

Under a 1974 pact, Indian fishermen have rights in the waters around Katchatheevu. But fishermen from Tamil Nadu say they are never allowed to do this by Sri Lankan security personnel, particularly the navy.

The chief minister said a delegation of Tamil Nadu legislators should be permitted to visit Sri Lanka to see for themselves the condition of Tamils still in refugee camps after the end of the war in 2009.

But the AIADMK leader said she could only play "a very limited role" in issues that primarily concern the governments of India and Sri Lanka.

On June 8, the AIADMK-dominated Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution seeking economic sanctions against Colombo on issues concerning the Tamil community, including alleged war crimes.

First Published: Jun 14, 2011 16:28 IST