Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday hinted that the Centre could explore the option of clearing the decks for the conduct of jallikattu in Tamil Nadu through a Constitutional amendment.
“We are getting suggestions (to amend the law). We (the then Central Government) did it in the Shah Bano case. But, we will have to see. We will have to discuss. We will have to weigh what court thinks,” he said at the India Today Conclave here.
However, he was unwilling to state whether the Union government will take that route. “Jallikattu is a traditional sport of Tamil Nadu and nobody should have a problem with it,” he added.
Asked if the income-tax raids on former Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao was an effort by Central government to arm-twist the Tamil Nadu government, he said, “He is not a rival of the BJP or the Central Government. He is an officer. I don’t know whether he is still the Chief Secretary or not, but he should not have levelled the allegations. Other officers have condemned his statement.” The Central government will work with Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who has been elected by the AIADMK MLAs.
However, addressing journalists in Coimbatore, BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan said that the State government should promulgate an ordinance to conduct jallikattu as the Central government could do little about it.
She stated that the Supreme Court was hearing a petition challenging the Central government’s ordinance removing bull from the list of performing animals. Since the matter was sub judice, the State government could and should promulgate an ordinance, and if it does, the Central government would fully support the move. As for the controversy surrounding the Pongal holiday, she asserted that the government did not tweak the holidays list. Those without a complete understanding of the issue were casting aspersions against the government, she alleged.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who spoke on the topic ‘The Great Digital Leap: Andhra Pradesh’, contradicted his earlier statement on demonetisation. “There is no cash crunch in my State. Only 5-10 per cent of the people are protesting,” he said. He also said that he wanted to make Amravati “a bigger and better city” than Hyderabad.