Will not contest by-poll despite having strong support base

The Congress has decided not to contest the Pudukottai by-election, despite having a strong support base, in view of its ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)'s decision to boycott it, TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan said here on Sunday.

“Since the DMK contested from Pudukottai in the 2011 Assembly elections, it alone can take a decision on contesting the by-election. We have no option but to keep away from the poll,” he told reporters at the Sathyamurthy Bhavan.

Deserving candidates

However, his party had a number of highly deserving candidates from the area.

Mr. Gnanadesikan said that during his visit to New Delhi, he briefed Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in-charge-of party affairs in Tamil Nadu, about the situation in Pudukottai and the stand of various parties on the by-poll. “I will be meeting him again on May 22 and a decision on Pudukottai by-poll may be known then.”

Asked whether the Congress was ready to support the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) in the constituency, he said so far, DMDK founder Vijayakant had not approached the party.

“The question of fielding a common candidate was never discussed, so the issue does not arise,” he said responding to a question on a common candidate against the AIADMK in the by-election.

Asked whether the Congress in the State was inclined to support the DMDK, he said all political decisions would be taken only by the high command.

On the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Mr. Gnanadesikan said that his party was not for a separate Eelam but strongly believed that a solution to the ethnic question should be found within a united Sri Lanka.

“We cannot interfere with the internal affairs of another country. But, India is committed to the rehabilitation of the Sri Lankan Tamils, who suffered at the hands of both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army in the last 20 years. The priority is to find a home for them and ensure education for their children.”

Reacting to the demand for Eelam by various Tamil leaders, including DMK president M. Karunanidhi, Mr. Gnanadesikan said that any aggressive stand by political leaders in Tamil Nadu would not be in the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils.

“It will unnecessarily create suspicion among Sri Lankan political leadership and will not augur well for the Tamils. So, I appeal to the Tamil leaders to exercise restraint.”

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