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`Seize the opportunity, cooperate with Union Ministers'

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, MAY 28. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder, S.Ramadoss, today appealed to the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, to cooperate with Union Ministers from Tamil Nadu in implementing development schemes.

If the Chief Minister found it difficult to hold discussions with the Central Ministers every now and then, she should appoint a coordinator in the rank of Chief Secretary to perform the job, as no major project could be taken up in the region without the State Government's consent and cooperation, Dr. Ramadoss told presspersons here.

As the State had an all time-high representation of 12 Ministers at the Centre, its powerful voice started reverberating in Delhi, he said.

Recognition of Tamil as a classical language, implementation of the Sethusamudram project, setting up of desalination plants to meet Chennai's drinking water needs, solving of the Cauvery tangle, linking of southern rivers and repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act were incorporated in the Common Minimum Programme of the United Progressive Alliance at the initiative of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the PMK, claimed Dr. Ramadoss.

Replying to a query, he said though the PMK earlier demanded the dismissal of the Jayalalithaa Government, invoking Article 356 of the Constitution, the party shelved the plea temporarily as there was a general feeling that the move might generate sympathy for the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Further, the PMK wanted to play a ``constructive role in view of the golden opportunity'' for the political parties to strive for the State's development.

As the Union Ministers were prepared to cooperate with the State Government, the Chief Minister should seize the opportunity, ``giving up her animosity towards the Opposition.'' Dr. Ramadoss even suggested that `action taken reports' be obtained from them every month on important issues. ``If the parties in the State fail to rise to the occasion, the people will never forgive them.''

Urging the government to close liquor shops run by the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation in rural areas, Dr. Ramadoss said the PMK would hold a State-level meeting here within 20 days to finalise the date for the `lock-the-liquor shop' agitation by its women's wing.

The Chief Minister should also withdraw the power tariff hike, reduce the education fee by 50 per cent, reinstate sacked road maintenance workers, `Makkal Nala Paniyalargal' and noon-meal staff and revoke the order on recruitment freeze.

Dr.Ramadoss denied that he had any role in the induction of his son, R.Anbumani, into the Union Ministry. The entire party wanted Dr.Anbumani to assume the role and appealed to him to seek election from any of the five general Lok Sabha constituencies allotted to the party, he claimed. To a query, he said the UPA was better than the National Democratic Alliance, as any issue among the allies could be sorted out at the monthly meeting of the committee headed by the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi.

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