Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) president Vaiko has stressed the need for all the major regional parties to join hands to fight corruption and protect democracy in the country. Mr. Vaiko favoured a combination of regional parties to usher in “real federalism” and wanted Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu to lead the combination.

The MDMK chief was here on Sunday to call on Mr. Naidu whose indefinite fast seeking solution to farmers' problems entered the third day.

Expressing solidarity with Mr. Naidu, Mr. Vaiko sat at the hunger strike camp for most part of the day. In his half-an-hour-long address in English, translated into Telugu by senior TDP leader Varla Ramaiah, Mr. Vaiko said the days of the Congress government at the Centre and in the State were numbered.

He recalled his association with the Telugu Desam Party since 1998 and said Mr. Naidu set an example for others by not joining the Vajpayee government at a time when leaders of other parties were looking for positions for their kith and kin. The MDMK too did not join the Ministry in 1998, but some special circumstances forced the party to join the government in 1999. “I did not join the government in spite of being offered a Cabinet berth, but my party had to join the Ministry due to the circumstances then,” he said.

The MDMK president lavished praise on Mr. Naidu for launching innovative schemes such as Janmabhoomi, teleconference and videoconference with officials to take administration to the doorstep of the people. He described Mr. Naidu as a leader of impeccable honesty and integrity and said nobody could point an accusing finger at the TDP president.

Mr. Naidu ushered in issue-based politics in the country and had never compromised on secular ideals in spite of his playing a key role in the survival of the NDA government, he said. He wanted Mr. Naidu to conserve his energy and health as he should play a key role in not only State politics but also at the national level.