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MDMK tells Centre not to divest in BHEL

Special Correspondent

The UPA Government should give up the proposal, says Vaiko

RAISING KEY ISSUES: MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, presidium chairman, L. Ganesan (left) and treasurer M. Kannappan at the 14th general council of the party meeting in Chennai on Tuesday. — Photo: Vino John

CHENNAI: : The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday asked the Centre not to divest in the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) "under any circumstance."

"The UPA Government should reconsider the decision and give up the proposal," the MDMK general secretary, Vaiko, told presspersons here.

Concurring with the views of the Left parties, Mr.Vaiko said that a public sector enterprise operating profitably should not be sold. He described the meeting of views between his party and the Left as a "coincidence." No joint strategy was worked out, he said. The MDMK had also demanded a rollback of the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel.

In a resolution adopted by its general body here, the MDMK said that BHEL had set an example as a well-run, profitable navaratna company. Its shares should not be given away to the private sector at any cost.

Mr.Vaiko recalled the MDMK's fight to retain the Neyveli Lignite Corporation in the public sector during the earlier Vajpayee Government.

The MDMK wanted the Centre to introduce a Constitutional amendment to nationalise rivers and ensure that States abided by the rulings of the tribunals. A resolution noted that the final award in the Cauvery dispute was being inordinately delayed. There was no guarantee that Karnataka would implement the award if one was given. The future of hundreds of farmers in the delta area was at stake and this called for the taking over of inter-state rivers by the Centre. The issue would be taken up at the highest level since there should be no more delay in nationalising rivers.

He criticised Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's approach to the Cauvery water issue and said that since water was to have been released from Mettur on June 12, the Chief Minister should have appealed for its release earlier and called for an all-party meet to discuss the issue. He said the welfare measures announced recently were "aimed at the elections." People would "see through the AIADMK's game."

The party demanded a bench of the Supreme Court in Chennai and the renaming of the Madras High Court as Tamil Nadu High Court. It also wanted vacancies of judges in the High Court filled up.

In another resolution, the party thanked Mr.Vaiko for being instrumental in getting an assurance from the then Prime Minister, A.B.Vajpayee, on the implementation of the Sethusamudram project and allocation of funds for it. It also thanked him for being behind the efforts to include the project in the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA and its launch.

Mr.Vaiko said that during the past year he was concentrating on strengthening the party at all levels. The party was gearing up for polls and was launching a donation drive to meet election expenditure. He asserted that the Democratic Progressive Alliance, headed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, would remain intact and get a landslide victory in the coming Assembly elections.

He said the people of Tamil Nadu had not accepted any coalition Government and so there was no place for such talk. On the demand from some quarters for the re-enactment of POTA in the wake of the Ayodhya incident, he said there was no justification for this. He said that the Bharatiya Janata Party was undergoing "an ideological crisis" and it did not seem to have a unanimous view on any issue.

Mr.Vaiko defended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's comments at Oxford and said that there was nothing wrong with them. Some good things too happened during the British rule. "The Prime Minister spoke about these," he said.

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