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ELECTIONS 2004

A bit late in the day but it’s over: BJP says bye-bye Amma

Monday 31 May 2004

BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu today virtually ruled out continuation of the party’s alliance with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, saying the tie-up was confined to the Lok Sabha polls.

??The alliance was formed for the elections... The polls are over. You understand better,’’ he told reporters when asked whether the tie-up with Jayalalithaa’s party would continue in the state. He was talking to mediapersons at the BJP headquarters after inaugurating the party’s state executive committee meeting.

The question of a future alliance, Naidu said, would be decided at the time of elections. ??This is the stand of all political parties.’’

However, he refused to say categorically whether the BJP would support the AIADMK government in the Assembly, only replying: ??We would appreciate their good things and criticise if their policies are against the people.’’

While the BJP president wouldn’t blame the BJP-AIADMK combine’s wipeout in the state to unpopular measures brought in by the Jayalalithaa government, he hoped that she hadn’t waited till after the elections to roll these back. At the same time, he maintained it was a collective decision to go in for the alliance, and ?everyone should take the people’s verdict in their stride’’.

The BJP, Naidu assured, had done so already and would function as a constructive opposition.

Asked if he had discussed the electoral performance with Jayalalithaa, he replied in the negative and said if required he would talk to her. But he said there was no need for Jayalalithaa to step down as demanded by Opposition parties.

??There is no rule that a party in the state should resign if it’s drubbed in parliamentary elections.’’

Naidu also ruled out the possibility of a change in the state BJP leadership, saying ??success and failures in politics are common and they have to be taken as collective responsibility’’. He cautioned the TN BJP legal wing that has been making this demand to pipe down, warning there might be changes in the legal wing itself if that didn’t happen.

Hitting out at the Congress-led government at the Centre, Naidu said it was held together by people ??hankering’’ for power and was dependent on the Left parties, which held ?’veto power’’.

??The Manmohan Singh Government has seven unhealthy birthmarks,’’ he said, indirectly referring to the parties in the UPA, the portfolio issue involving DMK and allocation of portfolios to even ?tainted’ ministers.

Listing out the ??unhealthy birthmarks’’, he said the Prime Minister himself had been ??selected and not elected’’.

Regretting the moves to repeal POTA, Naidu said it was being done under the compulsions of ??vote bank politics’’. Terrorism still loomed large over the country, he said, referring to the killing of 30 BSF jawans and their family members in Jammu and Kashmir recently. He said if some states misused POTA, the remedy lay in incorporating safeguards.

Asked about DMK president M Karunanidhi’s comment that he was happy that all their demands-like repeal of POTA, Sethusamudhram project and declaration of Tamil as a classical language-had been included in the Common Minimum Programme whereas the Atal Behari Vajpayee government did not consider them, Naidu noted: ??They are only included in the CMP and not implemented.The Sethusamudhram project was taken up during the NDA rule. If the DMK is happy about the CMP, let them be happy. I hope Karunanidhi’s happiness continues for the next five years.’’

See online : The Indian Express

P.S.

in The Indian Express, Monday, May 31, 2004.

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