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Vaiko, Ramadoss promise support

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, MAY 19. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary, Vaiko, today called on the Congress leader, Manmohan Singh, at his residence and extended support to him. He also discussed with him the issues to be included in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for implementation by the Congress-led secular government. The Pattali Makkal Katchi leader, Ramadoss, also met Dr. Singh separately.

Mr. Vaiko told The Hindu that he had impressed on Dr. Singh that all languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution should be made official languages of the Indian Union and that as a first step Tamil should be accorded that privilege. He said English also should continue as the official language till all the languages in the Eighth Schedule were accorded the same privilege. The assurance given by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to non-Hindi speaking people should be guaranteed with suitable constitutional amendment, he said adding that Tamil should be declared a classical language.

An appropriate Constitutional amendment should be made to enable the States to enact legislation to specify the quantum of percentage of reservation in their respective States, the MDMK leader said. This was necessary to protect the 69 per cent reservation in Tamil Nadu and to overcome the obstacle of the Supreme Court verdict in the Mandal case that total reservation should not exceed 50 per cent.

The Centre-State relations should be reviewed and necessary constitutional amendments made to provide legislative and fiscal autonomy to the States.

After his meeting with Dr. Singh, Dr. Ramadoss said his party would accept any leader decided by the Congress Parliamentary Party. On the CMP, Dr. Ramadoss said it would be finalised in two or three days.

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