Special Correspondent

Says it is based on goodwill and friendship

SALEM: “The Congress-DMK alliance remains strong and will go beyond the Pennagaram by-poll,” Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K.V. Thangkabalu said here on Friday.

“Our alliance is based on goodwill and friendship and no one can disturb it,” he said before leaving for Pennagaram to attend the alliance's election campaign meeting in which the DMK candidate would be introduced.

“One need not infer something extraordinary from the Delhi meeting of a few leaders from Tamil Nadu with the Congress high command and harp on it. Our alliance with DMK is very strong and healthy,” he reiterated.

Reacting to claims that certain resolutions passed in the DMK general council meeting held recently were “anti-Centre,” Mr. Thangkabalu said political parties were entitled to have their own views on any subject. “Views within an alliance can differ. But, it does not mean that the relationship is deteriorating.”

He asked reporters not to attach any “political significance” to the participation of PMK senior leader G.K. Mani at the government function in which the Kalaignar Housing Scheme was launched in Tiruchi recently. “All party leaders had been invited. And PMK too participated. That's all.”

Mullaperiyar issue

On the Mullaperiyar dam issue, he said the Tamil Nadu Congress unit would work in tandem with the State government. “As the State president, I will take up the issue with the Union government. We will firmly stand by the State on this issue and will safeguard the rights of Tamils at any cost.”

Flaying the Opposition for adopting “anti-democratic” attitude, he said the Union budget was “pro-people with a vision.” The thrust was on agriculture, rural employment and education.

“In this context, I welcome the approach of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who had said that though the DMK was against the hike in petroleum prices, it would not stall the proceedings in both houses of Parliament,” he said.

Explanatory meetings on the budget would be held all over the State from March 10 to March 30.