New Delhi, Oct. 29: Deputy Prime Minster L.K. Advani today refused uplinking facilities to Jaya TV amid growing opinion in the BJP that Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa is unlikely to be a dependable ally.
Sources said objections by the Intelligence Bureau and the Enforcement Directorate had forced Advani’s hand. His decision comes in spite of Jayalalithaa cosying up to the BJP-led regime in contrast to ally DMK that is playing up to the Congress and the Left parties.
The ADMK chief is believed to have not taken the “snub” kindly. Sources said such “lack of cooperation” from Advani was the reason she refused to attend his son Jayant’s wedding last month. She also went off to Ooty when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Chennai for a function.
ADMK sources said the BJP had been waiting for a chance to drive a hard bargain with Jayalalithaa ahead of next year’s general elections. If the Centre wanted, it could have overruled the objections and given Jaya TV the go-ahead, they said. More so, because the information and broadcasting ministry and the department of space had cleared it.
Jayalalithaa had herself sounded Jaswant Singh for clearance from the directorate — under the finance ministry — but the minister, although a personal friend, was not much help.
After scrutinising Jaya TV’s application to change into a 24-hour news channel, the directorate had raised objections about alleged foreign exchange violations by channel proprietor T.T.V. Dinakaran. He is the brother of Jayalalithaa’s foster son Sudhakaran. Three of the channel’s investors are NRIs based in the US.
ADMK sources today drew a parallel with the way the Centre had spurned former Uttar Pradesh ally Mayavati. They said the BJP’s electoral calculations in Tamil Nadu could go awry if it did not handle Jayalalithaa well.
A verdict in the Tansi land deal case, involving Jayalalithaa, is pending in the Supreme Court. A trial court had earlier ruled her guilty, awarded her three years in jail and disqualified her from contesting Assembly polls in May 2001. But a higher court acquitted her in December 2001, paving the way for her comeback as chief minister.
Some in the BJP see DMK chief M. Karunanidhi as a more mature, stable and dependable ally than Jayalalithaa, who made several demands on the Vajpayee government in 1998 and finally toppled it a year later.
Jayalalithaa, who is believed to be aspiring for Prime Minister, is reportedly planning to shift base to Delhi. She also has plans to make Jaya TV the most popular channel in Tamil Nadu, eclipsing Sun TV which is owned by rival DMK leader Murasoli Maran’s son Kalindi.
With the BJP sending out confusing signals on who it will eventually tie up with, the DMK appears prepared to quit the NDA. Yesterday, Karunanidhi shared the dais with Congress and Left leaders and former Union minister P. Chidambaram in Chennai.
At a function to release books by Congress leaders Peter Alphonse and Goppana, the DMK chief said: “A decision on the DMK’s electoral stand will be announced on an appropriate platform and at an appropriate time.”