Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Charismatic Jayalalithaa stumps Delhi media

Not right time to meet Sonia Gandhi because Congress, DMK continue to be allies

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK general secretary J.Jayalalithaa was sweet and stinging in turn as the national media literally ate out of her hands. She was charm personified but she did not hold back the barbs.

She said that Tamil Nadu did not want to pursue a course of confrontation with the central government. “We have stated in the governor's address that the state wants friendly relations with the centre in the interests of the state,” she said responding to question from DNA.

She was also restrained and dignified when she clarified as to why she would not meet Sonia Gandhi: “The Congress and the DMK are still alliance partners. It is not appropriate for me to meet Mrs Sonia Gandhi who is the Congress president.”

But she unleashed her stinging fury with regard to the election of home minister P.Chidambaram from Sivaganga where her party candidate lost out: “He did not get elected. He won the election fraudulently. He should resign.” She said that an election petition is now pending in the high court.

This was accompanied by her demand for the resignation of union textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, who is facing charges of favouring his brother's company as telecom minister from 2004 to 2007.

There was no ambiguity in her stance. In answer to a question whether she should support the Congress as she had offered when the 2G spectrum scam broke out, she aid, “Much water has flown since then. Now it is for the Congress to ask me for support. You cannot ask me on their behalf.”

Whether she would pursue cases against the DMK government for their acts of omission and commission, she said, “All the cases which the DMK bigwigs and supporters are facing have been filed by the CBI, and none of them emanate from the state government.”

She said that the DMK had lost the election because of the corruption of the family members of DMK leader Karunanidhi. She also pointed out the DMK had reduced the state to dire economic straits.

“When I was in power from 2001 to 2006, Tamil Nadu had a surplus in power generation. The power generated then was 10111 megawatts, and the state could trade its surplus power and earn revenue. During the DMK's period the power generation in the state had been reduced to 7,000 megawatts. The DMK was importing coal from Indonesia which was of low calorific value and it was paying a higher price. Bribes were being paid,” she said.

She disclosed that she had requested prime minister Manmohan Singh to provide on a temporary basis 1000 megawatts to the state till next May, and that the prime minister has agreed to look into the matter.

She has also explained the riddle of the new secretariat built during the Karunanidhi period at a cost of Rs 1200 crore, which was initially estimated to cost Rs 200 crore. She said the new secretariat is not large enough to accommodate the 36 departments of the government. “There is space only for the chief minister, the cabinet and seven other ministries.”

The charismatic Jayalalithaa showed a much mellowed and a mature facet as a politician, where she is very clear as to what is to be done and who her friends and enemies are, she is not issuing any diktat. She is a personification of sweet reasonableness, and members of the media were stumped.

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