Jayalalithaa targets Maran, Chidambaram

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should sack his Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran if he doesn’t quit over corruption charges, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said Tuesday.

"I have gone on record saying Maran should step down from his post in the council of ministers. If he fails to do so, the PM should drop him," she told a news conference here after meeting Manmohan Singh.

Maran has been accused of indirectly benefiting his family’s firm through the allocation of second generation (2G) spectrum when he was telecommunication minister from 2004 to 2007. His successor, A. Raja, is now in prison, also over corruption charges related to 2G.

‘Chidambaram must quit’

Accusing Home Minister P. Chidambaram of fraudulently getting elected to the Lok Sabha, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Tuesday demanded his resignation.

"He has not won the parliamentary election. In fact he lost the election," the AIADMK leader told a news conference here. "He has played a fraud on the nation."

Jayalalithaa said the data entry operator in the Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu transferred votes secured by AIADMK candidate Raja Kannappan to Chidambaram’s credit in the 2009 general elections.

"This is how this fraudulent victory was secured," he said. "He should resign."

The chief minister said her party candidate had filed a case in the Supreme Court challenging Chidambaram’s victory. "There is no question of softening our stand. We will try to expedite the case."

She said Chidambaram’s position in the cabinet was "untenable".

According to official records, Chidambaram defeated his AIADMK opponent by 3,354 votes.

Jayalalithaa said it was "not appropriate" for her to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi during her visit here, as her party’s political rival DMK was still an alliance partner of the Congress.

"As of today, Congress has an alliance with the DMK, which is a coalition partner in the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. So it is not appropriate for me to call on Sonia Gandhi, who is also the Congress president," Jayalaithaa said at a press conference here.

Gandhi invited Jayalalithaa for tea after the AIADMK supremo won the Tamil Nadu assembly elections early last month ago with a thumping majority.

Hinting that she is in no hurry to make up with the Congress, Jayalalithaa said those seeking her support will have to approach her.

"If anyone wants my support, they have to ask. You cannot ask on their behalf," the AIADMK leader told a reporter here.

She said when she invited the Congress to join hands with her before the elections in May, "the situation was entirely different".

It was made about seven months ago, before the state assembly elections in April, and that the political situation has changed since her offer then.

"Much water has flown down the bridge. My offer of support simply does not arise now," the Tamil Nadu chief minister added.

She pointed out that the Congress party had since made it very clear that it continued to have an alliance with the DMK, and both parties were part of the coalition governing India. DMK is an archrival of her AIADMK.

"So my question of offering support (to the Congress-led government) simply does not arise," she said.

In an oblique criticism of the government’s attacks on Gandhian Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev, she told reporters here: "Every Indian citizen has the democratic right to protest against corruption. Everybody should be given the right to exercise their democratic right."

Jayalalithaa was asked to comment on the recent protests organised by Hazare and Ramdev.

But she offered no comments on the proposed Lokpal bill, saying her government had sought more time to respond to the questions posed by the central government on the subject.

Jayalalithaa said People in Tamil Nadu voted out the DMK because they felt they were living in Hitler’s Germany or Idi Amin’s Uganda, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said Tuesday.

The DMK regime curbed media freedom and "people felt they were living in Hitler’s Germany, under Mussolini or in Idi Amin’s Uganda", she told a news conference here after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"There was no power, in most places no drinking water. The whole of Tamil Nadu had become one big garbage dump.

"The only thing everyone in power did was to amass money. People decided they had had enough."

She blamed the "all pervading corruption" on the DMK.

"(There was) total lack of governance, nepotism, domination of one family, not just in all areas of governance but in every business and every trade. Everything was monopolised by one family."

Jayalalithaa also blamed the DMK government for plunging Tamil Nadu into darkness.

"During our earlier tenure, from 2001 to 2006, Tamil Nadu was a power surplus state," she said, pointing out that electricity outages had become endemic when the DMK ruled Tamil Nadu.

This, she said, was due to corruption in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

"The DMK is facing the heat today, the DMK supremo’s family is facing the heat today.

"Many of the DMK leaders and leading lights of the party are facing a slew of corruption cases. Some are in jail, many more are likely to go to jail."

The Chief Minister Tuesday also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the first time since storming to power in Tamil Nadu last month, armed with a resolution on the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka and seeking an economic package for her state.

Jayalalithaa met Singh for about 20 minutes at the latter’s 7 Race Course Road residence.

The AIADMK chief, who led her party to a resounding victory in the assembly polls last month, raised the precarious power situation in her state with the prime minister and called for the central government’s intervention in Sri Lanka to secure the proper rehabilitation of Tamils there.

The state assembly had last Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution urging the Indian government to impose economic sanctions on Sri Lanka and approach the United Nations to declare those responsible for the "genocide" in the island country as war criminals.

The AIADMK chief has also condemned the attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen on the sea, alleged by the Sri Lankan Navy.

All eyes were on the meeting in the backdrop of strained Congress-DMK ties over the jailing of the latter’s leaders A. Raja and Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, in a corruption case being probed by CBI. DMK is the archrival of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK.(IANS)

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