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Jayalalithaa's poser to Sonia Gandhi

Atiq Khan

Addresses Samajwadi Party election meeting in chaste Hindi


  • Attacks Sonia for charge against Mulayam
  • Describes Mulayam as a champion of secularism



    BANDING TOGETHER: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh (left) with Om Prakash Chautala, Jayalalithaa, Chandrababu Naidu, Amar Singh, and S. Bangarappa at an election rally of the Samajwadi Party in Allahabad on Monday. - PHOTO: SUBIR ROY

    ALLAHABAD : On her maiden visit to Uttar Pradesh to campaign for the Samajwadi Party, the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK president, Jayalalithaa, on Monday assailed UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for accusing Chief Minister Mulayam Singh of misusing Central funds.

    Instead of asking Mr. Singh to furnish details, Ms. Gandhi should ask Bofors case accused Ottavio Quattrocchi where he had squandered India's money, she said. Mr. Quattrocchi should be arrested and deported to India, she said.

    With Ms. Jayalalithaa batting for Mr. Singh, the contours of a Third Front at the national level became more visible.

    Not a dole

    Addressing the election meeting on the K.P. Inter College ground here in chaste Hindi, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the money given to the States was not a dole. It was the States' share of the Central taxes.

    She attacked Congress MP Rahul Gandhi for his statement on the demolition of the Babri Masjid and insulting the former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao.

    Criticising him for targeting a deceased person, she said Mr. Gandhi was perhaps more accustomed to a foreign style of living and ignorant about Indian customs and traditions.

    She charged the Congress with adopting double standards in political alliances.

    It plotted the downfall of the I.K. Gujral Government to help the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu.

    Ms. Jayalalithaa described Mr. Singh as a champion of secularism and lauded him for taking the initiative to form a secular alliance in the interest of the minorities, especially the Muslims. While the Congress made the law and order in Uttar Pradesh an election issue, it was silent on the killings of policemen in Chhattisgarh and migrant labourers in Assam.

    ``Third Front imperative''

    Also present at the meeting were the former Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Haryana — Chandrababu Naidu, S. Bangarappa and O.P. Chautala.

    Mr. Singh said that the presence of these leaders enabled him to withstand the pincer attack launched by the Congress and other Opposition parties.

    Catalyst

    Mr. Bangarappa, who is a Samajwadi Party MP, said the return of the party's Government in the State would prove to be a catalyst to a change at the national level. He attacked the Congress for its poor administration and said the formation of a Third Front was imperative. He urged the voters to help form the front.

    Telugu Desam Party president Chandrababu Naidu said the Congress indulged in double-speak on secularism. He attacked Mr. Gandhi for speaking on the Babri demolition and the division of Pakistan and scoffed at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's proclamation that Mr. Gandhi was the future of Uttar Pradesh.

    Stating that the formation of a Third Front was on the anvil, president of the Indian National Lok Dal, Chautala said that the elections in Uttar Pradesh would decide the future of the country's politics.

    Significantly, the Sonia and Rahul-bashing took place in Allahabad, the hometown of the Nehru-Gandhi "parivar." Allahabad has given the country three Prime Ministers — Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Vishwanath Pratap Singh.

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