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MDMK aims at respectable representation in Assembly

Special Correspondent

Lessons from the past will determine poll strategy: Vaiko



MDMK leader Vaiko at a press conference on Sunday. — Photo : M.Vedhan

CHENNAI: The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will approach the Assembly election taking into consideration lessons from the past and the future of the party.

"Our steps will be measured," said the MDMK general secretary Vaiko at a press conference here on Sunday. The party was looking for a "respectable" representation in the Assembly and would work towards this goal, he said in response to a question. However, Mr. Vaiko refused to elaborate on how many seats constituted a respectable representation.

He said the alliance arithmetic had so far decided which formation won the election in the State and there would be no change this time round. When pointed out that seat sharing would be a major hurdle for the Democratic Progressive Alliance, he said: "Let us be optimistic."

Insisting that 2001 was "past" and that he did not "want to dwell on it," Mr.Vaiko said that 2006 would be very different. There was a "spirit of fraternity and comradeship in the alliance" and it would "definitely continue for elections."

Flood relief

On relief distribution for the flood affected, he asked why the Government wanted to keep the Opposition out. The practice everywhere was to involve the Opposition during times of crisis. It was only in undemocratic set-ups that this was not followed. Even though his party was aware of the authoritarian ways of the ruling party, it did not hesitate to contribute to the State effort. The Opposition must be involved in relief distribution. Only then relief would reach all the affected. Now lakhs of farmers were left out, he alleged. The Government must expedite the process of setting up all-party relief committees, he said.

Describing the setting up of committees of elected representatives as "eyewash" Mr.Vaiko said in many places even these were not set up. In other places, the committees were yet to meet.

Sri Lankan issue

He held the Sri Lankan Government responsible for the present state of affairs there, though the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was held responsible for more than 3,000 instances of ceasefire violations (by the Monitoring Committee till November 30).

Sri Lankan Tamils were the worst affected in the tsunami, but the government was not providing relief to them. The fanatics among the Sinhalese were not prepared to give them any concession. Mr.Vaiko said the joint statement by India and Sri Lanka should have appealed to both sides to ensure the success of peace talks. Instead, it chose to deplore the ceasefire violations. India should assume a neutral role, not supply military hardware or help rebuild Palaly airbase. It should act in such a way that peace efforts of Norway attained success, he said.

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