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TN MPs take centre stage

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI DEC. 16 . Tailored as the Prevention of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2003, was to address the fallout of the arrest of the MDMK Parliamentarian, Vaiko, the discussion in the Lok Sabha today on the amendment doubled up as a forum for Tamil Nadu politicians to air their differences.

The altercations between the AIADMK members and the combined front of the DMK, MDMK and PMK grabbed the centre stage of an otherwise tame discussion that meandered along expected lines. As if in deference to their colleagues from Tamil Nadu, others did not try to steal the thunder from them. Even the Chair was indulgent to the Tamil Nadu members, allowing them more time even as the debate went into overtime. First off the block was AIADMK's K. Malaisamy who put up a spirited defence for his party Government in Tamil Nadu. He reminded the Centre that the AIADMK had backed the legislation even before the party's support was sought.

While his comments on the DMK's "soft attitude" towards the LTTE provoked an immediate round of heckling from the other side, he countered the argument of political vendetta by stating that if the AIADMK was trying to settle political scores, it would have gone after arch rivals and not someone who "is not our potential enemy."

Similarly, the DMK member and Environment Minister, T.R. Baalu's counter had AIADMK members on their feet with some encouragement from the Congress. Mr. Baalu said he had cautioned the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister about possible misuse as "laws are used by both kings and tyrants."

C. Krishnan (MDMK) said the Act should be withdrawn and that the party would support the amendment. This invited ridicule from the Opposition which accused him of double standards.

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