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Hogenakkal row: Jaya, Karuna at loggerheads
April 08, 2008 20:15 IST
Jayalalithaa and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Tuesday crossed swords over Tamil Nadu putting on hold the Hogenakkal water project, with the AIADMK supremo alleging that the DMK leader was expecting a cabinet berth for his daughter M P Kanimozhi, prompting him to take the decision.
The former chief minister also said that Karunanidhi had betrayed the interests of the state and demanded his resignation.
But Karunanidhi refuted the charge, asserting that there was no link between the project being halted and the possibility of Kanimozhi getting a berth and wondered whether anybody in Karnataka has powers to induct her into the Union cabinet. Despite strong speculation, Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, did not get a ministerial slot.
"I am a Tamil and interested in protecting Tamils everywhere. Normally, elections should be held without any violence. But when the seeds of violence have been sown, elections in Karnataka will not be peaceful. Only to avoid this did I announce my decision", he said.
Jayalalithaa, who staged a walkout of the assembly today along with party members, told reporters later that the project was put on hold by Karunanidhi, as he expected a ministerial berth for Kanimozhi in the April 6 union cabinet expansion.
"We are not bothered whether she gets a minister's post or not; we are more concerned about the drinking water needs of the people of two districts (Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri), where people are suffering from fluorosis due to the consumption of water mixed with high levels of flouride," she said.
Jayalalithha said that Karunanidhi had failed the people of the state by putting on hold the project, leading to shock and anger in Tamil Nadu.
"Even people in Chennai, who are not beneficiaries of the project, are staging demonstrations in support of the project, asserting the state's right to it," she said.
"There is a need for a government with a strong political will, which this government does not possess," she said and called for the resignation of Karunanidhi.
She criticised Karunanidhi for his unilateral statement putting the project on hold, even as the Assembly session was on." "He wanted the support of all parties to move resolutions on March 27 and April 1, but did not convene a Cabinet meeting or consult other parties, she said.
On Jayalalithaa's accusation that he had betrayed the state's interests on the issue, Karunanidhi said, "it is funny that a leader of a party, thriving on betrayal, is leveling the charge. It makes me think whether the betrayal is another form of politics,' he said.
On state units of national parties taking opposite views on the project, he said, "I had already stated that national parties ruling in different states should not take (divergent) stands, which would hinder national unity and integrity."
On Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party leader B S Yedyurappa's charge that his decision to put the scheme on hold was a conspiracy by the Congress for electoral gains, Karunanidhi said it was not true.