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DMK satisfied with EC arrangements

By R.K. Radhakrishnan



M. Karunanidhi

CHENNAI, MAY 5. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, M. Karunanidhi, has said he is satisfied with the arrangements made by the Election Commission. ``We are satisfied. The complaints are being looked into. They are taking steps to an extent. I believe that they will have to take severe action. That phase is nearing,'' he said.

The DMK had filed the maximum number of complaints, most of them pointing out ``violations of the code of conduct by the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.''

On the demand that paramilitary forces be deployed in booths across the State, Mr. Karunanidhi said in an interview that the EC should take into consideration the response of the State Government to the issue and take suitable action. If the EC did not act, it would appear as if it was supporting the Government.

Commenting on the EC shifting key polling officials in some districts, including two Collectors, he said the officials were under pressure to take sides with the ruling party. ``Officials are being forced to take sides with the Government. The police have been orally instructed to take orders from AIADMK leaders. The attempt is to win at any cost.'' Asked whether the `sensitive constituency' tag would keep voters away from booths in Chennai and elsewhere, Mr. Karunanidhi said it would not. ``I believe the people will come and vote.'' The DMK leader, who has completed touring the State ahead of the May 10 elections, said he was pleased with the people's response. He was certain that the huge turnout reflected the mood of the people and that they would vote for the Democratic Progressive Alliance in a big way.

Later addressing a series of public meetings here tonight in support of the DPA candidates, Mr. Karunanidhi said Opposition parties of different ideologies had joined together to form a secular government at the Centre.

Unlike the Bharatiya Janata Party--All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam front, the DPA was formed to save and protect the secular character of the country, he said. The AIADMK front was nothing but opportunist. He would describe it as a `surrender front,' in which the BJP had to digest insults heaped by the AIADMK just to get a few parliament seats.

Justifying his party's decision to withdraw from the National Democratic Alliance, Mr. Karunanidhi said the DMK and others walked out after the BJP had gone back on its assurance on the common agenda. The Dravidian parties' withdrawal was welcomed by `all political parties' in the country.

He criticised the AIADMK Government for `sabotaging' various Central schemes initiated by the former Environment Minister, T.R. Baalu.

It was interested in a vilification campaign against Opposition parties and not in welfare programmes for the people. The people would give a fitting reply to the AIADMK--BJP front for the `opportunist' alliance.

Earlier, the candidates, Mr. Baalu (South Chennai) and Dayanidhi Maran (Central Chennai), and the DMK treasurer, Arcot Veerasamy, addressed the meeting.

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