Thursday, Oct 02, 2003
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``They (the Centre) should not allow the arrest of Mr. Kannappan. We have been of the view that the detention of the MDMK leader, Vaiko, is wrong and should not have been allowed.''
His assertion came in response to a query at a media briefing here, after a meeting of the party's district secretaries.
(The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, recently wrote to the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, asking him to drop Mr. Kannappan, an MDMK Minister, to facilitate his arrest under the POTA for his speeches in support of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.)
Asked whether the State Government could arrest a Central Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi said the Jayalalithaa regime already had the experience of arresting the Union Ministers and DMK leaders, Murasoli Maran and T.R. Baalu, two years ago.
Asked why the Prime Minister, who took an immediate decision on the issue of resignation of the BJP Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, put off a decision on Mr. Kannappan by two days, Mr. Karunanidhi quipped: ``They are not one and the same''.
To another query whether Dr. Joshi, who had been chargesheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case, should be allowed to continue as Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi said he had a different view. A debate whether ministers should step down merely because they were chargesheeted was necessary. He hastened to add there were precedents of convicted persons taking over as Chief Ministers too.
`Not a warning, just a demand'
Mr. Karunanidhi said the district party chiefs had been asked to organise ``campaign meetings'' in the run-up to the December 1 protest demonstrations planned in front of Central and State Government offices, demanding repeal of the POTA.
Asked whether the DMK sought to issue a threat to the BJP-led Government through the agitation, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was not a warning but only a demand.
When a scribe asked whether the protest was a forerunner to a political realignment in Tamil Nadu, the DMK chief said, ``You can write so if you wish so''.
The DMK would seek the ``moral support'' of Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu including the Congress for the protest.
When his attention was drawn to the BJP all-India secretary, L. Ganesan's suggestion that the DMK, a constituent of the Union Government, should not hold protests against the Centre, Mr. Karunanidhi insisted that such agitations were not unprecedented. The CPI protested against the Centre even while being part of the Deve Gowda-led United Front Government.
To a query on Mr. Ganesan's statement that the ``uncertainty'' over the ties between the DMK and BJP should end soon, he said that it was the BJP, and not his party, which was responsible for the present situation.
Would the DMK continue its ties with the BJP in the next Lok Sabha election? ``Wait for a year. The election is one year away,'' Mr. Karunanidhi said.
Asked whether there was a possibility of cordiality returning between the two parties, he said: ``whether there is alliance or not, we always remain cordial with everyone''.
When would the ``alliance suspense'' end? ``When the film ends,'' he quipped.
Asked whether there was a possibility of an alliance with the Congress, he merely stated no ties existed between the two now.
At today's meeting, a resolution was adopted condemning the arrest of the party's platform speaker, Vetrikondan, for alleged defamatory speeches. While the police initiated no action against AIADMK men, who allegedly made obscene speeches at public meetings, it was condemnable that only the DMK orators were being targeted, the resolution said.
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