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Jayalalithaa’s charge of Opposition planning to unleash violence absurd, says Chidambaram

Tuesday 11 April 2006

Special Correspondent

"Maintaining law and order is the State Government’s responsibility"

CHENNAI: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday criticised Chief Minister and All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa’s charge that the Opposition was planning to let loose large-scale violence to stall Assembly elections.

Dubbing the charge "absurd," he told reporters that maintaining law and order was the State Government’s responsibility. He expressed dismay at the charge made by the Chief Minister, who holds the Home portfolio, besides being in charge of Intelligence.

"As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, she is all the Ministers rolled into one. How can she accuse us of trying to create a law and order problem?"

He said the Congress would project the "sorry state of affairs" in Tamil Nadu under the AIADMK rule during the last five years, besides the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance Government. It would also expose the AIADMK Government’s "non-cooperation" on initiatives taken by the Centre.

About the Sivagangai District Central Cooperative Bank controversy, he said Ms. Jayalalithaa had spread "misinformation" during her electioneering at Karaikudi, claiming he was responsible for making the bank defunct. He had already explained that the bank was under the control of the State Government, which was responsible for the "irregularities." The RBI had relaxed some restrictions last year, thanks to his intervention. This had been acknowledged by Chief Secretary N. Narayanan.

Releasing copies of Mr. Narayanan’s letter, dated July 4, 2005, and RBI Deputy Governor Usha Thorat’s letter dated April 5, Mr. Chidambaram said the RBI wanted the State Government to reconfirm its intent to support the bank with further infusion of capital so that the remaining restrictions would be withdrawn. But the State failed to respond positively. It did not even disclose that it had received these communications from the RBI.

"Let the State Government answer" why it had not responded to the RBI letter. The RBI would relax the restrictions immediately after receiving the Government’s positive response, he said.

See online : The Hindu

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