Wednesday, March 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jaya’s offer to TMC-Cong combine

Chennai, March 6
The AIADMK General Secretary Ms J. Jayalalitha today offered 45 seats to the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC)-Congress combine and expressed willingness to barter her party’s two-and-a-half years rule in Pondicherry to the Congress if the latter was willing to join the AIADMK-led front.

Addressing a press conference, she discounted reports that the alliance had collapsed and said she was still talking to TMC President G. K. Moopanar on the question of alliance.

She also expressed willingness to delink Pondicherry from its alliance in Tamil Nadu if the Congress so desired.

Ms Jayalalitha said it would be nice if the TMC and the Congress took an early decision on the question of alliance but she did not set a deadline.

Answering a volley of questions, she declined to respond to Congress General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comments in Delhi yesterday that there was no question of his party sharing power with the PMK in Pondicherry.

She was negotiating with Mr Moopanar on behalf of both the TMC and the Congress, she added.

Ms Jayalalitha declined to answer queries on the possibility of emergence of a TMC-led third front in Tamil Nadu.

Ms Jayalalitha charged the Left parties with violating the “coalition dharma” by leaking to the media their resentment over the number of seats offered to them by the AIADMK.

They were free to discuss any matter with her and she was accessible to them, Ms Jayalalitha said.

She declined to answer queries whether they had written to her expressing resentment over the number of seats offered to them, saying that it was a private letter and she did not want to discuss it through the media.

She was revealing the number of seats offered to the TMC-Congress combine because conflicting reports had appeared in the Press about the offer, she clarified.

Ms Jayalalitha discounted media reports that she had suggested to Mr Moopanar to dump the Congress from the alliance.

The 45 seats offerred to the combine could be shared between them in any manner, she said.

She blamed other parties in the secular front for delaying a decision on the alliance. This had resulted in her party cadre losing enthusiasm for the past one month to work for the party’s victory in the elections, she said.

On Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi’s remark that the doors were still open for the TMC to join the DMK-led front, Ms Jayalalitha said this showed Mr Karunandihi’s “unstable nature and his fear of electoral defeat”.

Ms Jayalalitha said her party’s offer of chief ministership to the PMK for two-and-a-half years by rotation was not negotiable.

Meanwhile, Pondicherry Pradesh Congress Committee President V. Narayansami, who is camping in Chennai, said on phone that the accord between the AIADMK and the PMK would not be binding upon the Congress.


Congress rejects Jaya’s offer

New Delhi, March 6
The Congress tonight virtually rejected AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalitha’s proposal for a power-sharing arrangement with the PMK in Pondicherry asserting that the party’s supremacy should be maintained in the union territory.

The party also said that the Congress and the TMC were united in stand on the alliance issue in both Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

Reacting to Ms Jayalalitha’s offer, party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters that the “new proposal” by her left the basic issue of the PMK unresolved.

Ms Jayalalitha announced in Chennai earlier in the day that the AIADMK was prepared to relinquish its turn of chief ministership in Pondicherry to the Congress and raise the number of seats to the Congress-TMC combine to 45 in Tamil Nadu. PTI



BJP leaves decision on TMC to DMK

Chennai, March 6
The BJP today left it to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), heading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu, to decide about admitting the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) into the front.

“I am not ready to welcome the TMC and it is for the DMK to decide,’’ a BJP senior leader and Union Rural Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told newspersons here.

Mr Naidu’s remark assumed significance in the backdrop of DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s yesterday’s statement that he was keeping the option open on admitting the TMC into the front.

Asked whether he would extend an invitation to Mr Moopanar to join the front, Mr Naidu said the TMC leader was a seasoned politician. “I only wish Mr Moopanar took a proper and meaningful decision in the interest of the state, the country and his own party,’’ he added.

“Mr Moopanar is a friend of mine but I don’t give him unasked advice,’’ he said replying to a question.

Stating that Tamil Nadu politics was taking an interesting turn, Mr Naidu said as far as the NDA was concerned the front was all set to go to the people with clarity in all spheres. “We have clarity in leadership, clarity in alliance, clarity in future and clarity in programme,’’ he added.

To a question, Mr Naidu said the BJP would not place any demand during the seat-sharing talks and accept whatever was agreed to at the meeting. The party’s election committee members would return here tomorrow and talks with the DMK would begin in a couple of days, he added.

He lashed out at the proposal to share power between the AIADMK and PMK in Pondicherry after the assembly poll and said it would “fail” like the one experimented in Uttar Pradesh.

“Uttar Pradesh was a failed experiment, where Mayawati refused to step down. The same thing will happen in Pondicherry also. But let us see whether the AIADMK-PMK combine comes to power in the union territory,” he told a press meeting here.

Mr Naidu said there was “no guarantee” that the combine would win in the elections in the union territory.

He said the NDA in Tamil Nadu, under the leadership of Mr M. Karunanidhi, would place before the people the ‘good work’ done by the alliance at the Centre and by the DMK government in the state.

“The confusion, contradictions, chaos and the opportunistic alliances at the other camp will also be placed before the people,” he said.

He alleged that both the AIADMK and the PMK had “ditched” Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. “There is no guarantee that they will stay together in Pondicherry.”

He said till recently, the PMK was accused by the AIADMK of being “separatist and secessionist”. The Congress also had accused the PMK of being involved in Rajiv Gandhi’s killing.

The TMC, Congress, CPI and the CPM had described the AIADMK as the “most corrupt party”. “All these things will reverberate throughout Tamil Nadu in the coming elections”, he said, adding these parties had to “digest” all these charges made against the AIADMK in the past.

“All these parties have no policy or programme but want only seats. Sharing of seats is going to be the stumbling block for them.”

On the BJP’s seat-sharing exercise with the DMK, the NDA leader in Tamil Nadu, Mr Naidu said, “We will accept whatever is agreed upon by both. There are no givers and no takers. There will be no problems. We will compromise to the maximum extent possible.”

On whether the TMC and Congress would be admitted into the NDA fold in Tamil Nadu, if both were willing, Mr Naidu said, “TMC is not BJP’s political rival, but the Congress is our rival at the national level.”

On the possibility of emergence of a third front in Tamil Nadu, the BJP leader said such an experiment was tried in the last elections also, adding much depended on the progress of talks between the AIADMK and TMC.

Taking a dig at the Congress, he said Jayalalitha had “shown the doors” to the party.

Referring to the launching of ‘thondar’ (cadres) Congress by former TNCC President Kumari Ananthan yesterday, he said in Tamil Nadu “there are leaders Congress and cadres Congress but no voters’ Congress.” PTI, UNI

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