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Congress refuses Jaya's support in lieu of dumping Raja

Source: PTI
November 11, 2010 21:53 IST
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The Congress on Thursday refused to bite All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa's bait of support at the Centre in lieu of dumping controversial Union Telecom Minister A Raja, maintaining that M Karunanidhi's Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam is its important alliance partner "at the moment".

 "At the moment, it is very clear that DMK is our important alliance partner. Whatever Jayalalithaa said may be her feelings and we have nothing to comment on it," All India Congress Committee general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told mediapersons in New Delhi.

He was reacting to the remarks of the AIADMK chief, who on Thursday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to sack Raja with a promise of "unconditional" support of 18 Members of Parliament if her party's archrival DMK withdrew support to the government on the issue.

Commenting on the offer, Union health minister and AICC in-charge of Tamil Nadu Ghulam Nabi Azad separately said that there was no vacancy in Tamil Nadu, as the party already has an alliance with DMK.

Jayalalithaa said, "I have the numbers to replace the 18 DMK MPs. I mean what I say."

Asked whether she would impose any conditions for her support to Congress, the AIADMK chief said there will be no terms and conditions from her side.

This is for the first time that Jayalalithaa made such a major overture to the Congress, a decade after she raked up the foreign-origin issue of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

A Congress leader speaking on the condition of anonymity said that Jayalalithaa was in the habit of making such offers and this was not her maiden offer to Congress. Another leader said that politics is a game of possibilities and she was probing the possibilities.

A section of the UPA is also hinting at the hand of some industrial houses opposed to Raja in raking up the 2G controversy for their own benefit.

When asked about demands for sacking of Raja against the backdrop of removal of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan in Mumbai's Adarsh Housing Society scam, Dwivedi said, "The concerned minister is not from our party. Raja is a member of our alliance partner. It is for that party to decide."

Though the Congress refused to back the telecom minister, a cautious Dwivedi said, "Raja's question is slightly different. This case is pending before the Supreme Court.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India report has not been placed before Parliament and after placing, it would go to the Public Accounts Committee, which is always headed by a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Let these two things happen first. Let the PAC take a view on the issue first and let our allies think about it," Dwivedi said.

The Congress, which is reluctant to act against Raja despite mounting attacks, apparently wants DMK itself to withdraw him from the cabinet. Suggestions in this regard were clear when a senior Congress leader said, had he been in our party, he would have gone by now.

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