Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu on Saturday sought to play down the significance of the protest meeting proposed to be organised by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam against Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on the Mullaperiyar issue, saying there is nothing wrong in a party expressing its views in a democratic manner. The DMK has announced a public meeting in Madurai on November 1 against Mr. Ramesh.
"I cannot prevent another party from organising a protest," Mr. Thangkabalu said.
He, however, pointed out that the DMK was also a part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. "I want to underline the point. The issue is not the individual in question. The Minister is also part of the UPA government," he said at Sathyamurthy Bhavan.
Replying to questions on whether the DMK was right in organising the meeting, Mr. Thangkabalu said he had also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pointing out that granting of permission to Kerala to conduct a survey for a new dam in place of the Mullaperiyar dam without consulting Tamil Nadu was wrong. "The Kerala government got the nod by suppressing facts. I had also pointed out that the Centre should not have taken any decision on the issue when it was pending before the Supreme Court." He said a Minister had the power to decide on matters concerning his department. But the Prime Minister could intervene and take remedial measures.
He declined to comment on the demand for the resignation of Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja in the wake of CBI raids on the Department of Telecommunications headquarters in connection with the spectrum scandal. "I am not ready to say anything. The Minister himself has explained everything," he said.
Asked about the discordant notes of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and his absence when the Tamil Nadu MPs' delegation met the Prime Minister, Mr. Thangkabalu said: "We need not attribute motives."
He said the MPs from Tamil Nadu were sent to Sri Lanka on behalf of the people of the State. On Friday, they submitted a detailed report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, seeking India's help for the resettlement and rehabilitation of the Tamils. The Prime Minister immediately directed the Defence Minister to send a team to Sri Lanka to help the country in de-mining operations.
"The Indian government also spoke to Basil Rajapaksa, advisor to President Rajapaksa, to send a team to India to discuss the rehabilitation issue. The team will soon come to India and have discussions on how to utilise the Rs.1,000-crore assistance from India," he said.
Mr. Thangkabalu, who had already received certain threats, said on Saturday that he had received a letter pledging to create a Tamil Eelam in Tamil Nadu. "I am going to register a complaint with the police. Similarly, I will also write to the Chief Minister and Union Home Minister."