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INL joins People's Alliance

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, FEB. 28. The Indian National League (INL) has joined the People's Alliance floated by Dalit parties to fight the Lok Sabha elections.

The national president, Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait, formally joined the alliance in the presence of the Puthiya Tamizhagam president, K. Krishnasamy, and the Dalit Panthers of India general secretary, Thol. Tirumavalavan.

Mr. Sait said both the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu were working against the interests of Dalits and minorities and were united in denying opportunities to the ``suppressed class.''

Coming down heavily on the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, M. Karunanidhi, for ``betraying the INL and the minority communities,'' Mr. Sait said the DMK leader assured his party a seat when he met him in January. But the DMK leader subsequently changed his mind and asked him to meet the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, for the seat.

Mr. Sait warned the Congress and Left parties to be careful with Mr. Karunanidhi as he was keeping his options open. He would not hesitate to join the BJP front after the elections, if necessary, Mr. Sait noted referring to Mr. Karunanidhi's speech at the party conference at Virudhunagar, where he targeted only the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, and not the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Appealing to the Congress and the Left parties to quit the Democratic Progressive Front and join the People's Alliance, Mr. Sait said it would represent the voice of Dalits and minorities in the Lok Sabha and work for their uplift.

Dr. Krishnasamy said more parties in Tamil Nadu had expressed a willingness to join the alliance, and seats would be finalised after a week.

Mr. Tirumavalavan said he would contest the Mangalore Assembly by-election. Mr. Tirumavalavan, who was elected on DMK symbol, resigned from the Assembly protesting that party's decision not to accommodate the DPI in the Democratic Progressive Front.

The Makkal Tamil Desam president, S. Kannappan, said the front candidates would contest on Janata Dal (United) symbol.

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