The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ally attacks BJP for Jaya ‘deal’

Chennai, Jan. 1: The DMK, a partner in the ruling National Democratic Alliance coalition, attacked the BJP in Tamil Nadu, accusing the state unit of forging a “secret pact” with the ruling ADMK.

“The state BJP is twisting facts and dishing out even patent falsity by accusing the DMK of unilaterally severing ties with the former, only with the intent to translate into reality the secret deal the saffronites have already entered into with the ADMK for the next (Lok Sabha) elections,” DMK president M. Karunanidhi said in a statement.

“It does not behove of highly respected people in the BJP to stoop to such things,” Karunanidhi said, taking a swipe at the state BJP’s executive meeting at Vellore on Sunday. The executive had criticised the DMK for having passed a resolution early last year on “unilaterally” breaking off its electoral ties with the BJP.

Karunanidhi said the DMK had passed no such resolution. The first resolution adopted by the party’s general council meeting on March 24 was an appreciation of the resolve with which Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had handled the situation after the Godhra carnage, he added.

The DMK had also praised Vajpayee’s sympathetic hearing to the grouse among NDA partners and the reaffirmation of their common agenda for governance, Karunanidhi said.

State BJP leader and party secretary L. Ganesan was the first to make a distinction between the BJP having “a relationship” with the DMK at the Centre and “being friendly” with the ADMK in Tamil Nadu, the DMK chief said, adding: “I had subsequently only rephrased Mr. Ganesan’s metaphors, calling them ‘ties’ in the Centre and ‘friendship’ in the state.”

The people already knew how the BJP started distancing itself from the DMK during the byelection to three Assembly constituencies, including Saidapet and Vaniyambadi, he added.

The DMK’s fears were confirmed by the CPM. In an assessment of chief minister Jayalalithaa’s 18-month rule, the state CPM said, “every step she takes is in the direction of her journey towards rejoining the NDA.”

Jayalalithaa is taking steps to get nearer to the NDA, including the enactment of a law that bans forcible religious conversions, the CPM said.

Reiterating that the DMK’s relationship with the BJP was based on the NDA’s common agenda, Karunanidhi said: “There will be no change in our position as long as the BJP did not deviate from the NDA programme.”

He accused a section of the state BJP leadership of trying to isolate the DMK in the NDA by playing the “Hindus versus non-Hindus card”.

Karunanidhi disclosed that newcomers in the BJP, such as Union shipping minister S. Thirunavukkarasar, were being asked to highlight the DMK chief’s “anti-Hindu remarks” at public meetings and warned that such tactics would not work in Tamil Nadu.

Dismissing Karunanidhi’s charges as “false and unwarranted”, Ganesan said the BJP’s style of functioning had always been open. “We will not have any secret understanding with anyone,” he added.

“Since the DMK leader had earlier said ties were off with the BJP at the state level, we also accepted it,” Ganesan countered Karunanidhi’s allegations, saying there was no problem if the BJP continued with its relationship with the DMK, the MDMK and the PMK.

Ganesan denied the charge that BJP was trying to play the communal card. It was the DMK that was “openly trying to move away from the BJP,” he said. The future of their relationship will depend on the DMK’s stance in the coming days, he added.

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