The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong cribs about Aiyar attack

Chennai, Oct. 14: The Congress has complained to deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani about the attack on its MP, Mani Shankar Aiyar, near Nagapattinam yesterday.

Aiyar was returning from a government function where chief minister Jayalalithaa inaugurated development projects worth Rs 261 crore for the district when he was attacked allegedly by ADMK volunteers and his clothes were torn.

The MP, who is today resting at the state guest house in Karaikal — an enclave of Pondicherry — on the way to his constituency Mayiladuthurai, has registered a complaint with Pondicherry police. The incident had occurred just inside Karaikal, bordering Tamil Nadu.

The complaint mentions that a 10-member gang in a car waylaid his car. The gang had chased his car, stoned it and attacked him. Three others, including his driver, were injured. The attack was allegedly the handiwork of some ADMK men.

Sources in Nagapattinam, who had attended the government function, said Aiyar had listed a series of pleas related to his constituency, asking the chief minister to take action.

Aiyar, who spoke briefly, had also made a passing reference to gaps in programme implementation and had stressed the need to solve the crisis facing farmers following non-release of Cauvery waters by Karnataka. This criticism was thought to have sparked the attack.

But from the text of Jayalalithaa’s speech released last night, it appears that while rebutting Aiyar’s criticism, she had also lashed out at an article he wrote some time ago after she gifted an elephant to the Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala.

“Two years back, I had donated an elephant to the Guruvayur temple. Mani Shankar Aiyar then wrote an article mentioning this. But the author went on to add in a ridiculous vein that he wished to gift Jayalalithaa to the temple,” the chief minister said.

“The Lok Sabha MP (Aiyar) who the other day wrote in this fashion is today placing a whole lot of demands for his constituency,” said Jayalalithaa.

“But will he dare repeat what he had said in that article on this dais today' Is he prepared to speak out those very words (ridiculing her) before this microphone here'” she thundered.

After the chief minister’s speech, a stunned Aiyar said something to her before stepping down from the dais and leaving the venue by car.

Leaders of most parties, including DMK president M. Karunanidhi, today not only condemned the “murderous attack” on Aiyar after the meeting but also the “uncivil” words spoken by the chief minister at a government function to which Aiyar had been invited as the local area MP.

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