‘Why is Sonia silent...Isn’t she Rajiv’s widow?’
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‘Why is Sonia silent...Isn’t she Rajiv’s widow?’

AIADMK boss J Jayalalithaa on Monday attacked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her silence on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's open support for the outlawed Tamil Tigers, which was behind the assassination of her husband in 1991.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2009 00:19 IST

Taking the 2009 election debate to a new low, J. Jayalalithaa, used strong words to attack Sonia Gandhi on Monday for her silence over the pro-LTTE remarks of her ally, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

In a clear attempt to drive a wedge between the ruling UPA partners, the AIADMK chief for the first time also revealed her mind on the post-poll scenario, openly backing the NCP chief Sharad Pawar (68) as her choice for the PM’s post.

Jayalalithaa (61) unleashed vitriol at the Congress on a day when Karunanidhi (84) backtracked on his remarks supporting the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), apparently under pressure from the Congress leadership in Delhi.

“Why is Sonia Gandhi silent? Is she not the Congress president? Is she not the widow of Rajiv Gandhi? Is she not the chairperson of UPA?” Jayalalithaa asked in an interview to the CNN-IBN news channel.

“She (Sonia Gandhi) should give a clear, explicit answer to the nation on what she feels about Karunanidhi’s statement on LTTE. She should also tell the nation on what she proposes to do,” the unrelenting AIADMK chief said.

Jayalalithaa also did not spare her bitter rival Karunanidhi and termed his statement as “irresponsible, coming from a man who is the chief minister of a state”.

In an interview to a TV channel on Sunday, Karunandhi had referred to the LTTE chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, (54) as “a good friend.” The DMK chief had also refused to describe him as a terrorist.

The Congress was quick to return Jaya’s fire in an equally hostile language. “She has used cheap words like a widow. The Congress is a large party where a spokesperson is authorised to speak on behalf of the president,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi responded.

Jayalalithaa also used the interview to mention her prime ministerial choice.

Asked whom would she support for the top post — Mayawati, Pawar or Lalu Prasad. “No one has specifically sought my support so far. I have said earlier there is nothing wrong in leaders aspiring to be prime ministers.”

Coming to her exact choice, Jaya said: “Pawar is a senior political leader. He has the necessary maturity, wisdom and experience to become the prime minister.”

Her remarks are likely to trigger a debate within the fledgling Third Front partners, majority of whom have maintained that the issue of prime ministership would be decided after the elections.

First Published: Apr 20, 2009 22:11 IST