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Updated: November 12, 2010 01:37 IST

Jayalalithaa to Manmohan: we will back you if Raja is removed

PTI
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Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has assured the UPA of the support of 18 MPs if the ruling combine decides to sack Telecom Minister A. Raja. File photo
The Hindu Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has assured the UPA of the support of 18 MPs if the ruling combine decides to sack Telecom Minister A. Raja. File photo

Congress dismisses offer; no vacancy in Tamil Nadu, says Azad

AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Thursday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to dismiss Union Communications Minister A. Raja, and offered his government the “unconditional” support of 18 MPs, if the DMK withdrew support.

But the Congress dismissed the offer.

Ms. Jayalalithaa asked the “hesitant” Congress to act against Mr. Raja, saying his continuance in the government would “permanently damage” the party's credibility. “My priority is that probity should be restored, and the perpetrator of such a massive scam should not go scot free simply because of the coalition's political compulsions,” she told the Times Now news channel.

“Things have reached such a stage and such a crescendo today that any delay in action against Raja would permanently damage the very credibility of the Congress and put a very big question mark on its future,” she said.

As the Opposition attack on Mr. Raja increased over the alleged irregularities in the 2G spectrum allocation, Ms. Jayalalithaa said Dr. Singh and the Congress were wrong if they thought that he would step down on his own.

Claiming that she “will show the way for the Congress,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said she could ensure the support of 18 MPs (the DMK's strength in the Lok Sabha) in the event of the DMK pulling out of the government. “There are other like-minded leaders. I have spoken to them. My party has 9 members in the Lok Sabha. The friendly parties have enough numbers. What is holding back the Congress now,” she asked.

Commenting on the offer, Union Minister and AICC general secretary in charge of the party affairs in Tamil Nadu Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “There is no vacancy in Tamil Nadu,” as the party already had an alliance with the DMK.

AICC media department chairman Janardhan Dwivedi was also dismissive of Ms. Jayalalithaa's offer. “It may be her feelings. We have nothing to comment on it.” “At the moment, it is very clear that the DMK is our very important alliance partner,” he said.

Asked whether she would impose any condition for her support to the Congress, Ms. Jayalalithaa said there would be no terms and conditions from her side. She said the position of the DMK and Mr. Raja had become “untenable,” as he committed a scam of unprecedented magnitude.

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