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Minor incident being blown up: Jayalalithaa

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI OCT. 15. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, today described the attack on Mani Shankar Aiyar, Congress MP, as a "minor incident" "sought to be blown up" by him and other Opposition parties.

The "alleged attack" on Monday took place within Pondicherry, she said and asked how the Opposition leaders had concluded that the AIADMK was responsible.

Pointing out that no one harmed Mr. Aiyar at the Nagapattinam government function venue, Ms. Jayalalithaa said it was "quite common for Congressmen to attack each other, break windshields and glasses of each other's vehicles and tear each other's shirts."

She charged that Mr. Aiyar came up to her on the stage and abused her in English, "in coarse, filthy and unprintable language." The Speaker, K. Kalimuthu, who was seated next to her, "heard everything."

"Aiyar had the gall and the audacity to approach me and insult me to my face in the foulest language."

The MP "deliberately arrived late for the function", Ms. Jayalalithaa said. Yet, she did not take this seriously and gave him the opportunity to speak. When she spoke, she merely repeated whatever Mr. Aiyar had written earlier about her gifting an elephant to the Guruvayoor temple, and asked him whether he would "care to repeat the same words again."

Despite the provocation, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, she "behaved in a dignified manner and did not retaliate in any way." Mr. Aiyar "left the venue immediately thereafter and he was allowed to leave in peace."

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