Vaiko friends again with Amma
THERE ARE no permanent friends or foes in politics -- Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa quoted this old adage, minutes after she sealed a poll alliance with the MDMK on Saturday.Updated: Mar 05, 2006 12:48 IST
THERE ARE no permanent friends or foes in politics -- Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa quoted this old adage, minutes after she sealed a poll alliance with the MDMK on Saturday.
Jayalalithaa was flanked by a smiling MDMK general secretary V. Gopalaswami, popular as Vaiko, whom she had sent to jail for 19 months on POTA charges in 2002 (Vaiko had allegedly taken a pro-LTTE stand in public).
Welcoming back Vaiko into the fold, Jayalalithaa said issues like POTA were "matters of the past". "We don't believe in looking back," she said. Vaiko responded: "This is the finest hour in the political history of Tamil Nadu."
The pact with AIADMK marks the end of speculation on whether the MDMK would stick to the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA). And it came on a day when the DPA planned to launch its campaign for the May 8 elections in the state.
Under the new seat-sharing arrangement with AIADMK, the MDMK will contest from 35 of the 234 assembly seats. Later, Vaiko blamed DMK chief M. Karunanidhi for breaking promises. He said he was hurt by Karunanidhi's remarks on Friday in Tiruchirappalli that the MDMK was free to leave the DPA if it was not prepared to accept its offer of 22 seats. Vaiko had demanded 25 seats.
"Moreover, in the past two years, the DMK was ill-treating us in all possible ways," Vaiko said. "We had to walk out to protect our self-respect."
He, however, made it clear that his party (with four MPs) will continue to support the UPA at the Centre. As soon as news of the MDMK tie-up with AIADMK spread, DMK workers started pulling down Vaiko's cutouts at the venue in Tiruchirappalli — where the DMK party conference is in progress — and set them ablaze.
Describing Vaiko as "ungrateful", activists claimed they were paying the price for the hardship “we underwent seeking his freedom” (when he was detained). More than 10 mediapersons were roughed up. Karunanidhi, however, refused to comment.
The MDMK had earlier forged an alliance with the AIADMK for the 1998 parliamentary elections, but snapped ties after Jayalalithaa pulled down the then Vajpayee Government. It contested the 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha elections with the DMK — but had stormed out of the alliance before the 2001 assembly polls.
2006: Vaiko leaves the DMK-led alliance after Jayalalithaa offers 35 of 234 seats
2004: Contests the Lok Sabha polls with the DMK.
2001: Storms out of DMK alliance before assembly polls
1999: Joins forces with DMK for general elections
1998: Allies with the AIADMK for parliamentary elections
First Published: Mar 05, 2006 12:48 IST