The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP squirms as VHP jumps gun on Jaya

Chennai, Feb. 10: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is intensely wooing Jayalalithaa’s ADMK government to the confusion of the BJP that continues to “value” the DMK as an NDA ally at the Centre despite the Tamil Nadu discord.

The BJP is now in a dilemma about its long-term political goals in the state.

For the VHP, however, the wooing is nothing but a preparing of the ground for a likely BJP-ADMK alliance for next year’s Lok Sabha polls. If the unabashed praise the VHP youth state conference in Tiruchirappalli has showered on Jayalalithaa is anything to go by, the Sangh outfit takes the likely alliance for granted.

The two-day “youth mela” that concluded yesterday “heartily congratulated” Jayalalithaa’s “bold” moves on at least five issues: the law banning forcible religious conversions, measures to enhance protection to cows gifted to temples, the temple “annadana” scheme, distributing 30 kg free rice to drought-hit farmers in the wake of the Cauvery crisis, and banning lotteries.

The VHP has not stopped at these as it has set a new mini agenda for Tamil Nadu through 18 resolutions adopted at the conference, attended by VHP leaders such as Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia.

The VHP has sought a law to ban cow slaughter in the state and urged the release of temple lands from the fetters of various land tenure systems as temple revenues dwindle.

The VHP, addressing some of the youths’ socio-economic problems, mooted the idea of the government opening “service centres” in every village panchayat. These centres would service “fast-moving consumer goods” to help rural consumers get defective TV sets or refrigerators repaired at their doorstep.

The Sangh outfit also demanded more Internet kiosks to boost employment for rural youths.

“The Hindu Youth Movement will fully cooperate with the (state) government in implementing such measures,” the VHP said in its resolution.

According to political observers, the pack of strong resolutions giving the ruling ADMK all the legitimacy it needs is no one-way traffic.

Jayalalithaa, too, has not been far behind in sending frequent signals to the BJP-led Centre on how her regime has taken several steps to the liking of the “parivar”.

At the recent Delhi conference of chief ministers on internal security, Jayalalithaa, though absent, let her speech resoundingly talk of her government’s moves supporting the Centre.

The speech emphasised why her government strongly supported the enactment of the anti-terror law and insisted that the rationale behind her anti-conversion law was to keep “hardcore religious fundamentalists at bay and prevent them from using religion to foment trouble”.

Jayalalithaa also informed the Centre that the state has enacted a new law, the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Harassment of Women, and set up a “special cell” in the state CID police’s security branch to focus on ISI activities.

She even suggested that “detention centres” for foreigners be established in major cities and district headquarters for better surveillance of foreigners.

Sources said all of Jayalalithaa’s moves are in “perfect harmony” with the BJP’s latest line of thinking on these sensitive issues.

The “subtle unison of approach” of the ADMK government and the Centre on certain issues has prompted CPM state secretary N. Varadarajan to place both on the same political footing.

Hence his plea to all “democratic, secular and progressive forces to come together to combat the anti-people policies of the Central and state governments”.

The CPI, too, is waiting to see whether the DMK, which has begun to distance itself from the BJP, will finally make a clean break from its NDA ally.

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