Lanka crisis: Jaya cancels b'day bash
As the political smog over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue intensified in Tamil Nadu, the opposition AIADMK leader, Jayalalithaa today cancelled her birthday celebrations, reports MR Venkatesh.Updated: Feb 08, 2009, 16:33 IST
As the political smog over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue intensified in Tamil Nadu, the opposition AIADMK leader, Jayalalithaa today cancelled her birthday celebrations, amid DMK-Congress rallies demanding immediate ceasefire in north Sri Lanka giving a sharper edge to the ‘politics of solidarity’ for the Tamils cause.
Though the AIADMK’s various wings had planned elaborate festivities on ‘Amma’s forthcoming 61st birthday on Feb 24, Jayalalithaa declared: “I have decided not to celebrate my birthday this year when more and more Tamils are getting killed in Sri Lanka under very trying circumstances.”
Advising her party cadres not to call on her that day to convey their wishes, Jayalalithaa, reiterated that the AIADMK will never support the banned Tamil terror outfit, LTTE. The party’s main concern was to save the Tamil civilians there and ensure a fair political deal for them, she asserted.
Significantly, when the political discourse over this issue had got so murky in Tamil Nadu, for the first time in recent months the AIADMK leader assured all support to whatever steps the UPA Government at the Centre might take to “protect the lives and rights” of the Sri Lankan Tamils.
With no ceasefire in sight by the Rajapakshe regime in Colombo, a series of peaceful protest rallies by the DMK-Congress-Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) combine across the State since yesterday has put the pro-LTTE parties backed forum, “Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement (STPM)”, in a fix.
However, the MDMK Chief Mr. Vaiko, a top STPM leader, tried to play down the political divide, as he rushed to Sirkali, 225 km South of Chennai, today to pay homage to the charred body of the third self-immolation victim in the past ten days, S. Ravichandran, a Congress ward secretary there.
When the scene quickly shifted to Chennai today, in the absence of the DMK patriarch, M. Karunanidhi who is in hospital, his son and the party’s youth wing leader, M.K.Stalin led an impressive rally here. In the backdrop of a big reassuring portrait of his, Stalin also cut his political teeth on a major politically sensitive issue for the first time.
The DMK’s senior leader and General Secretary, Prof. K. Anbazhagan, earlier set the tone for the rallies stating that in any move to bring about a ceasefire in Northern Sri Lanka and steps for a just political settlement, the State Government “can channel all its efforts only through the Centre”.
Stalin picked up the cue to reinforce DMK-Congress ties in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls. He promptly hit back at belligerent rival leaders without naming PMK and MDMK, for “politicizing” the Tamils issue for short-term poll gains in the vain hope of “isolating” the DMK on this score.
But on the contrary, the Tamils’ crisis has hastened the cementing of the DMK-Congress alliance in the State, as those who kept away from these rallies including some of DMK’s allies like PMK and the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI), are unlikely to continue in the DMK-Congress poll alliance.
The Stalin-led rally was followed by similar shows of strength by his elder brother M.K. Azhagiri in Madurai and their step-sister and party MP, Kanimozhi in Chennai respectively later in the evening, under the DMK-headed new “Forum for Welfare and Rights of Sri Lankan Tamils.”