The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya shuts drought door on iftar

Chennai, Nov. 17: Jayalalithaa today cancelled her party’s iftar, pointing out that farmers throughout Tamil Nadu, particularly in the Cauvery delta, were reeling under a severe drought after the river water crisis and that the state’s dismal fiscal position was “impeding any effective assistance” to them.

The move is a reflection of the trend in Delhi: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is yet to announce his iftar, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not holding one and Congress president Sonia Gandhi has cancelled hers, citing the drought situation in many states.

In a surcharged atmosphere after the passing of the anti-conversion law, Jayalalithaa asserted in a statement that there was no other reason for the ADMK to abstain from hosting the iftar.

Jayalalithaa might have intended this statement to signal that she remained equidistant from the Congress and the BJP. But her attempts to fashion a third front at the Centre met with sneers from state Congress chief E.V.K.S. Elangovan, who said she planned to use it as a ladder to “enable her to get crowned in New Delhi” after the next Lok Sabha elections.

With Amma having taken a strident anti-Sonia line, the Congress sought to dispel impressions that it was eager to forge an alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu.

Elangovan said that after the merger of the Congress parivar in the state, its objective was to form a government on its own.

On a query about Sonia’s views on coalition in the Mount Abu conclave, he explained there was nothing wrong in settling for a coalition if the Congress was unable to achieve its objective of a single-party rule.

The main Dravidian parties have begun to realise that the BJP’s political agenda was establishment of a “Hindu state”, said Elangovan, again denying that the Congress and DMK were moving closer.

“If DMK president M. Karunanidhi has begun to oppose the Hindutva forces in Tamil Nadu, it is because the people of the state are against those forces,” he said. However, “it is late wisdom on Karunanidhi’s part”, the state Congress chief said.

, pointing to how the DMK had remained silent during the Gujarat riots.

“We are firm on re-establishing Kamaraj rule in Tamil Nadu, for which a third front of like-minded secular parties will take shape in the state,” said Elangovan.

On the hostage crisis in Karnataka, Elangovan said as former party MP from Tamil Nadu Era Anbarasu was ready to go as an emissary to negotiate with Veerappan, he would request Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna to send him.

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