DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday indicated that he is not averse to the idea of supporting the candidature of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for the post of President.

Reacting to Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani's stand that Mr. Kalam's candidature should be supported, Mr. Karunanidhi said though it was Mr. Veeramani opinion, he would not like to contradict him.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Karunanidhi said that the DMK had already explained its stand on Presidential election to Defence Minister A.K. Antony and informed the media about it to an extent. [He has said that his party will support the candidate fielded by the Congress].

Mr. Karunanidhi, earlier in the day, alleged that former Ministers Veerapandi S. Arumugam and I. Periyasamy were arrested out of “political vendetta,” as the State government was unable to digest the upsurge among party workers during his 88 birthday celebrations and anti-government demonstrations.

In a statement, Mr. Karunanidhi said that Mr. Arumugam, a heart patient, was arrested in Chennai, produced in court in Salem only to be brought back to Puzhal jail in Chennai on the ground that there was no space in the Salem jail. “He was shuttled between Chennai and Salem. Why this politics of hatred? Is it not misuse of power?”

Mr. Karunanidhi said when he wanted to visit Mr. Arumugam in jail on Tuesday, authorities informed him that he could meet him only on Wednesday.

Besides Mr. Karunanidhi, DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin, former minister Duraimurugan and DMK MP T.K.S. Elangovan had sought permission to visit Mr. Arumugam in jail.

“But the authorities shifted Mr. Arumugam from the Puzhal prison on Wednesday morning. We don't know whether he was taken to Salem prison or Vellore prison. Why is this vendetta? The government has implicated Mr. Arumugam in an incident that took place in Salem, though he was in Chennai at that time and participating in my birthday celebration,” Mr. Karunanidhi said.

Later talking to reporters, he said that the AIADMK government seemed to be deriving enormous satisfaction from targeting former DMK ministers and district secretaries.

Asked about reports that the faction led by Mr. Arumugam in Salem had been sidelined and a rival group led by Rajendran was favoured by the high command, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was a media creation.

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