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Since 1st March, 1999
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Ally DMK fires Hindutva gun at BJP

Villupuram (Tamil Nadu), Sept. 19: Amid hints of a generational change in the DMK leadership, the party set the tone for its three-day conference that began here today by slamming the “Hindutva” of its ally, the BJP.

Presided over by DMK youth wing leader M.K. Stalin for the first time, the conference’s likely anti-terror law stance took a backseat as M. Karunanidhi attacked state BJP leader and national secretary E. Ganesan’s “Hindutva bias”.

At a function here yesterday, Ganesan had reportedly likened the DMK’s ascent to power to the “unfortunate rise of the atheistic forces” in Tamil Nadu. Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati was present at the function.

After a two-hour meeting of the DMK’s “high-level policy-making body”, Karunanidhi said this afternoon the remarks were “highly mischievous and condemnable”.

All 20 members of the policy body, except ailing leader Murasoli Maran, attended the meeting. Those present included Stalin, K. Anbazhagan, Arcot . Veerasamy, T.R. Baalu, Durai Murugan and K. Ponmudi, the local party leader who is hosting the conference.

Karunanidhi refused to divulge the party stance on the anti-terror law, except iterating that “Pota (Prevention of Terrorism Act) should go”. He added: “How the (political) issues are going to be emphasised, you will know when the resolutions are moved at the conference.”

But the DMK chief did indicate that his party might not queer the pitch for the BJP over the law. He merely dubbed as “unfortunate” NDA convener George Fernandes’s remark yesterday at Vellore that it would not be right to say the anti-terror law was no longer needed. Fernandes had said so after meeting jailed MDMK chief Vaiko.

The various political resolutions to be adopted and some “important decisions” to be announced on the last day of the conference were given shape at today’s discussions, Karunanidhi said.

He emphasised that only the DMK’s general council could decide on the party’s continuance in the BJP-led national alliance.

The DMK chief added “there is no need for us to complain” about Ganesan to the BJP leadership as the NDA’s common agenda of governance continued to be the benchmark for their alliance. When asked if another attempt by the Kanchi Sankaracharya could help break the Babri stalemate, he quipped: “You should ask Jayalalithaa about it.”

A member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board had met Saraswati in Chennai last night following former Supreme Court judge Justice S. Mohan’s remark that only the Kanchi seer could find an amicable solution to the Ayodhya tangle.

Karunanidhi explained his son Stalin’s key role at the conference by citing his own example. “I was asked to preside over a party conference at Tirunelveli by Annadurai when I was only 26,” he said, hinting that Stalin’s chance had come none too soon.

“It is an indication of a generational change,” Anbazhagan added. The change is evident in the projection of the duo, Karunanidhi and particularly Stalin, as the “party’s future” in the publicity for the conference in this heartland of the Other Backward Classes belt of Vanniyars.

The DMK cadre this evening took out a procession at the conference venue to compensate for a proposed rally that the district authorities banned.

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