The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya’s thunder rocks third front
- ADMK lash after nuke protest slight

Chennai, Sept. 9: Jayalalithaa today “wondered” if she was part of the third front, throwing a question mark on the survival of an alliance less than three months old.

The ADMK chief, at whose Poes Garden home the United Progressive National Alliance (UNPA) was born on June 18 ahead of the presidential polls, is upset at being left out of protests over the nuclear deal and the naval drill.

The Samajwadi Party and the Telugu Desam, the other key UNPA partners, are part of the campaign led by the Left.

“It makes me wonder whether the ADMK is still part of the UNPA, or whether the UNPA continues to exist as one entity at all,” Jayalalithaa said.

Resentment grew after the Left overlooked the ADMK but invited the other two partners to the rally it held against the five-nation naval drill that includes the US.

Jayalalithaa came down heavily on the Samajwadi Party and Desam, too, saying the two parties had not “bothered to inform the ADMK” about their participation in the protests.

She criticised Amar Singh for his remarks on the nuclear deal. The Samajwadi Party general secretary had said the UNPA favoured “some other mechanism” to consider the views of political parties if it was not possible to set up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC).

“To the best of my knowledge, the UNPA has not evolved any such stand on the issue and Amar Singh’s statement must be treated as his own individual opinion or that of the Samajwadi Party. These are definitely not the views of the ADMK,” Jayalalithaa said.

Amar had also spoken of the UNPA having no problems if the Centre had one consultative mechanism for the UPA’s allies and another for its supporting parties. Jayalalithaa disowned these statements too, saying they were not opinions that her party subscribed to.

“On such a vital national issue (the nuclear deal), the ADMK is for a single mechanism (JPC) irrespective of the number of parties and whether they were part of the government or outside,” Jayalalithaa said.

Last month, when the UNPA branded the nuclear deal a “slave treaty” and Amar pitched for a JPC review, the ADMK’s V. Maitrayan stood by the Samajwadi Party leader along with Desam’s Yerran Naidu.

The fresh ruptures in the UNPA come amid speculation that the ADMK chief could be moving towards the BJP, one of whose senior leaders, Ravi Shankar Prasad, called on her only two days ago. A quick meeting with L.K. Advani is also possible, political observers said.

The first cracks in the third front appeared in the presidential election. Jayalalithaa’s legislators voted for NDA candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. The ADMK chief offered a variety of reasons for deviating from the UNPA stand to abstain from voting.

One explanation was that her lawmakers trooped into the booths because they were not properly briefed about what to do. Another was that issuing a whip to the legislators would have broken Election Commission rules.

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