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LTTE issue: DMK government comes under attack
February 03, 2008 18:11 IST
Last Updated: February 03, 2008 18:12 IST
The LTTE issue has caused a chink in the armour of Tamil Nadu's ruling Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam, with the government coming under attack by other parties, including its key ally the Congress, in the state assembly over its alleged failure to take action against supporters of the outfit.
The open expression of displeasure by Congress MLAs, who staged a noisy walkout during the just-concluded session, came as a major embarrassment for the DMK, which is already troubled by the constant pin-pricks from another ally Pattali Makkal Katchi.
The DMK, 22 short of a simple majority in the 234-member house, is being extended outside support by its DPA allies � the Congress, the PMK, the Left parties and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi.
Sensing the simmering resentment among the Congressmen on the issue, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa sought to make the most of the situation by making a surprise appearance in the house to step up the attack on the government for its alleged 'soft stand' on the Tamil Tigers.
Interestingly, the issue also brought forth a rare camaraderie between the AIADMK and the Congress, as the AIADMK members extended support to the Congress members when it was raised in the House.
Congress MLA C Gnanasekaran also raised points in favour of Jayalailithaa's arguments against a statement by chief minister M Karunanidhi on a Supreme Court ruling in a POTA case.
Expressing concern over reports of increased LTTE activities in the state over the last two years, the Congress demanded the arrest of VCK leader Thol Tirumavalvan for his 'open support' to the banned outfit.
Irked by this, Tirumavalvan at a public meeting organised in support of the LTTE, asked whether the Congressmen were still mourning the death of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
"Is Gnanasekaran (Congress MLA who demanded his arrest) still mourning and not brushing his teeth? Has Jayalalithaa slimmed down by not partaking food over the last 15 years," he asked.
This raised the hackles of the Congress members, who made a vociferous demand for his arrest. As AIADMK members watched with amusement, they shouted slogans in the House, much to the embarrassment of the DMK.
Seeking to assuage their feelings, Karunanidhi advised Tirumavalavan, whom he referred to as a friend, to ensure that such a situation did not arise again.
However, his contention that action could not be taken against him as the Supreme Court had ruled in the POTA case that mere expression of sympathy to a banned outfit would not amount to a crime, led to the walkout by the Congress.
The Congressmen proclaimed that they would not 'forget or forgive', even after centuries, the assassination of their leader on Tamil soil by the LTTE.
Under intense pressure from the ally, the government, without naming the LTTE, finally warned of stern action under Unlawful Activites Prevention Act, against any individual or organisation supporting banned outfits.