The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Karunanidhi mind open to new tieups

Chennai, June 2: DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s statement today that his party has an “open mind” on tie-ups for next year’s Lok Sabha election should gladden the state Congress and make the BJP wary.

Karunanidhi said though the DMK had a “good relationship” with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, “there is no question of having any truck” with the BJP in Tamil Nadu. “One of its state leaders has abused us just this morning,” he added.

The DMK leader was speaking after the party general council re-elected him president for the ninth successive time.

Karunanidhi said the DMK was yet to decide if it should fight the general election as a constituent of the NDA. This will be one of the issues to be discussed by the DMK’s new high-level policy-making body, he said.

The party’s executive and general council will take a decision based on its recommendation.

Karunanidhi pointed out that there had been no alliance with the BJP’s state unit during the recent Assembly byelection. “This is our stand; but we do not know what they (the BJP’s national-level leadership) will decide on the basis of our decision,” he said.

Asked about Congress leader Arjun Singh’s recent remark that an alliance with the DMK in the state was possible, the party chief said Singh was only thinking aloud, not preparing the ground for talks.

Some of the key resolutions adopted at the general council today showed the DMK’s dissatisfaction with the A.B. Vajpayee government. The party iterated that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be withdrawn.

Another possible irritant in DMK-BJP ties was Karunanidhi’s statement that the DMK “did not agree” with reservation for economically weak upper classes.

Jaya shuffle storm

Jayalalithaa tonight dropped three ministers and inducted five, prompting charges from the Opposition that the surprise shake-up was linked to the transfer-for-cash scandal in the Union finance ministry.

The chief minister advised the Governor to replace K.K. Balasubramanian (information, publicity and film technology), A. Papasundaram (backward and most backward classes) and R. Vadivel (rural industries).

Among the five new ministers is R.T. Inbathamilan, the son of erstwhile ADMK leader R. Tamaraikkani who is now with the DMK. This is 10th Cabinet shuffle since the ADMK assumed office in May 2001.

Karunanidhi told a public meeting late tonight that the shuffle possibly had to do with the recent “recovery of huge amounts of cash” from the residence of chartered accountant A. Krishnamurthy.

The accountant had been arrested after a personal assistant of Gingee Ramachandran, who resigned as Union minister of state for finance after the scandal broke, was caught taking a bribe from an income-tax officer who wanted a transfer of his choice.

Karunanidhi said Jayalalithaa, with the dramatic Cabinet shake-up, was perhaps trying to “clean up the mess” amid reports that the CBI is widening its probe into the activities of Krishnamurthy.

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